Prescription medications are designed to help heal and treat medical conditions. Unfortunately, the same medicines that are designed to heal, can also destroy lives. An estimated seven million people use prescription medications illegally in the United States, ranging from antidepressants to prescription strength painkillers. In fact, prescription addictions impact all parts of the population, regardless of age, gender or background.
Commonly Abused Prescriptions
Many types of prescriptions are used illicitly, both by those prescribed them as well as those who obtain the drug illegally. Painkillers are one of the most commonly abused medications, including opioid and morphine derivatives like codeine, Hydrocodone and Oxyodone. Depressant medications like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medications like Ambien are also commonly abused. Other drugs of abuse are stimulant amphetamines like Adderall, as well as methylphenidate medications like Concerta and Ritalin, especially among teenage users.
Those at Risk
Medical patients have an elevated risk for prescription abuse, as they have easy access to commonly abused prescriptions, especially painkillers. While medical professionals work to prescribe a dosage and prescription length only powerful and long enough to help a patient during recovery, it’s difficult to predict the addiction potential for each patient. The elderly population is especially at risk, as they are more likely to be prescribed multiple medications, including commonly abused painkillers. Teenagers are a growing population of concern for prescription abuse, with teenagers gaining access to poorly secured medications in their home, or through purchasing the drugs through dealers on the streets or in their schools.
Treatment for prescription abuse varies depending on the individual, how long someone has been using and the type of drug abused. Generally, some form of residential or out-patient treatment clinic is necessary. For drugs like benzodiazepines or prescription painkillers, a medically supervised detox may be required to make it safely through the potentially dangerous side effects of the withdrawal process. Those in treatment benefit from activities like behavioral therapy and group therapy, and learn the skills and coping methods necessary to stay clean after treatment. A place like Next Level Recovery an addiction recovery program, might be able to help you decide what type of treatment is best for someone who is addicted.
To reduce the risks of prescription addiction, it’s essential that you follow your doctor’s directions on how often and how long to take your medicines. Medications should also be stored in a secure location to prevent the accidental or purposeful use of the prescription by other people in your home.