Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug abuse has become a growing problem that has reached epidemic proportions in some areas of the United States. This corresponds with statistics reporting that general prescription drug use has soared to new heights.

People, increasingly, are wanting prescription drugs to deal with a variety of issues, most commonly dealing with chronic pain after a surgery. The drugs are being doled out in greater amounts than ever before, and people are abusing them in greater amounts also. To combat the problem, understanding prescription drug abuse is essential.

Types Of Prescription Drugs That Are Abused

Prescription drugs are commonly given out for dealing with pain after surgery, but they’re also prescribed for sleep disorders and anxiety. Some different types of prescription drugs that are most often abused are:

  • Ambien
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Amphetamines

Opioids are prescribed to patients to deal with pain, depressants are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleeping problems, and stimulants can also be prescribed to treat sleeping issues.

Shortage Of Doctors

What also exacerbates the prescription drug addiction problem is the current shortage of doctors that patients face. As a result, patients can get prescriptions renewed without actually seeing a trained physician.

This results in a lack of monitoring how many prescription drugs the patient is given. Because of the rise in overdoses and even fatalities, the medical community is trying to set up some rules and regulations to better monitor the distribution of drugs.

What also makes monitoring drug distribution harder, is that patients who have developed dependencies to specific drugs will go to great lengths to get as much as they can.

This has resulted in some patients visiting multiple doctors, sometimes in different states, so that they can get more drugs. Patients need to educate themselves more about the dangers of prescription drugs, so they don’t engage in risky behavior.

Preventing Drug Abuse

Most of the time people don’t plan on becoming to prescription drugs. They are given the drugs, and then end up developing addictions. Many people seem to think because a drug is prescribed to them it’s not as dangerous as illegal drugs like cocaine or meth. But, in fact, people regularly overdose and suffer serious consequences from abusing prescription drugs.

To prevent the epidemic of prescription drug abuse various things need to happen from both the medical community and the patients that they treat. The medical community needs to put systems in place, where patients are monitored more closely and cut off if they start asking for an excessive amount of prescription drugs.

Nationwide Database For Prescription Drug Addiction

There should also be a nationwide database, so that people can’t hop from doctor to doctor seeking more prescriptions. Also, outreach programs targeting teenagers has been very effective in educating young people how dangerous prescription drugs are, so that they are more knowledgeable of the dangers.

And adult patients need to educate themselves to be more aware if they start exhibiting signs of addiction. Prescription drugs, particularly ones given out post-surgery, are only meant to be a short-tem fix, and not a long-term solution. If a patient starts needing prescription drugs to be functional, then help should be sought immediately.

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License: Royalty Free or iStock

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/psyberartist/2447542822/

Cindy Nichols is an addiction recovery specialist who is currently working on providing people with drug rehab referrals through Recovery Now.