Many people see their doctor and get a prescription for a medication, which they take as directed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however, approximately 20 percent of people in the U.S. have used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose. This type of behavior can open the door to drug abuse and addiction. The fact that the medication was originally prescribed by a doctor does not make it any less serious than if the person was using street drugs.
Prescription Drug Abuse Overview
The following prescription drug abuse facts were provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the third most commonly abused substances by Americans over the age of 14. (Marijuana and alcohol are the two most commonly abused substances.)
- Opioid painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, followed by stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Ritalin and Adderall).
- Sharing unused medications, such as pain relievers, with family members can contribute to drug abuse.
- Drug abusers will crush the tablets so that they can snort the powder or inject it using a needle. This delivers the dosage into the bloodstream more quickly and provides a faster, more intense “high.”
Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Indications that someone may “need” a prescription drug to function include:
- Increased dosage over time
- Ongoing use, even after the condition being treated has healed or resolved
- Spending a lot of time seeking medication, or visiting multiple doctors to get prescriptions
- Change in personal appearance
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Being defensive about drug use
Be alert for changes in a loved one’s behavior after he or she starts using a prescription medication. Someone who develops a pattern of complaining of chronic pain after an injury should have healed or who starts “losing” prescriptions and needs to see the doctor to get a replacement written may be dealing with a different issue entirely.
Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
When a problem with prescription drug addiction has been identified, it should be dealt with promptly. These medications have the potential to cause serious harm to the addict’s health or even death if he or she does not get appropriate treatment.
The staff at Above It All Treatment Center have the expertise to provide supportive help to clients who are dealing with a prescription drug issue. They will devise an individual treatment plan designed to address each person’s needs, including a pain management plan, if appropriate.