Prescription drug abuse has been classified as an epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is officially the fastest growing drug-related problem in the entire nation. Other drug use with drugs like heroin and cocaine is thankfully heading toward a decline, but prescription drug use seems to be ever-increasing as the government fumbles to combat the situation.
It was seen in national data that one-third of the people who started using drugs in the year 2009 started with prescription drug use. In these cases, the drug use was not via medically-prescribed drugs. In other words, the individuals taking these drugs were using them from other people’s prescriptions, buying them on the black market or stealing them.
Examples of Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
Prescription Sedatives: These include drugs for treating sleeping troubles and anxiety. They slow the activity in the brain and as a result, they often cause dizziness, confusion, low blood pressure, slurred speech and slow breathing. If taken with alcohol, they can cause your breathing or heart to stop, which can result in death.
Prescription Stimulants: These include drugs for treating attention deficit disorders and some other concentration problems. If taken in the wrong dosages or abused in other ways, these drugs can seriously increase your heart and breathing rates, raise your blood pressure and disrupt your attention capabilities. Psychosis, heart problems, anger issues and paranoia are only a few of the possible long-term effects.
Prescription Opioids: These include drugs that are taken for those with severe pain. For example, codeine and hydrocodone are often taken for serious physical pain. The sought-after feelings these drugs can cause include euphoria and absence of anxiety. These drugs may cause slowed breathing, constipation, nausea and even death.
The Issue With Prescription Drugs
Of course, there are issues with all types of drugs that hurt people mentally and physically. But there is a marked difference between illegal and legal drugs. Legal drugs like prescription drugs are complicated. Because they are legal, their relationship with the authorities is not easily defined. Many people who manage to obtain prescriptions for these dangerous drugs have a right to have them for various medical reasons, but they may persist to abuse them.
In addition, many people blindly assume that if a drug is prescribed by a doctor or professional, it must be safe for any type of use. This could not be further from the truth. Most of these drugs are dangerous and could cause serious mental and physical problems if abused or taken by the wrong individuals.
Combating Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs are possibly the most accessible drugs available to users and abusers because they are often prescribed for common surgeries such as wisdom teeth removal or other simple procedures. Because they are so readily available to the population, this makes it difficult for the medical community, law enforcement professionals and other government officials to monitor them and reduce their abuse rate.
Fortunately, there are some things that individuals like yourself can to do help reduce addictions to and abuse of drugs like these.
1. Follow the proper guidelines for disposal of extra prescription drugs.
Sometimes, you will be legally prescribed one of the serious prescription drugs listed above, but you will not have to finish the bottle. In this case, never keep the extra drugs laying around. Make sure you follow the proper disposal guidelines at all times.
2. Use community programs that take back these drugs.
Many communities have special community take back programs for serious drugs like prescription meds. Talk to your local police department or trash service to see if something like this is available in your area.
3. Discuss prescription drug use with your kids.
Kids need to know about the dangers of prescription drugs. This is especially true if there are prescription drugs being used by someone legally in your home.
4. If you are struggling with prescription drug abuse, seek help.
If you are struggling with the use and abuse of prescription drugs or drugs of any kinds, you need to seek help right away.
Seeking Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
The best way to start out your quest for help is to approach someone who you know and trust. This might be a parent, sibling, friend, teacher or co-worker. If you don’t know anyone, then go to a medical professional and voice your problems. In the best case scenario, you will be able to seek inpatient treatment for your drug abuse and ultimately recover and become sober.
Inpatient Drug Treatment Centers
At a quality inpatient drug treatment center, you will be taken care of by medical and mental health professionals to rid yourself of your drug problem. Through hard work and discipline, you can beat this problem, and inpatient drug treatment can help.