When people think of drug abuse, they often focus on drugs such as heroin, cocaine or meth. However, one of the most prevalent issues in today’s society is prescription drug abuse. Many people believe that prescription drug abuse is safer than abusing illicit substances, but they can be just as dangerous and deadly.
Prescription drug abuse can begin in multiple ways. The most common way people abuse medications is by taking more than the prescribed amount. They may double up on the dosage because they believe that the prescribed amount isn’t working. Prescription drug abuse also can begin when someone takes a pill that was prescribed for someone else. It may start out seemingly harmlessly, but can quickly lead to addiction.
Intentional prescription drug abuse is more obvious. The person may take the medication in another way than what was prescribed. For example, he or she may crush the pills into powder and snort them for a more intense effect. Some people may take prescription medication for the purpose of getting high. Many of these drugs are addictive, especially when not prescribed and monitored by a doctor.
Certain medications prescribed by a doctor are highly addictive when taken the wrong way. They fit into three main categories.
Opioids – These drugs are originated much the same way as heroin. In prescription form, they are used to control pain.
Sedatives – Designed to help people relax, they may be given to help people with insomnia, sleep issues or to deal with depression.
Stimulants – Drugs in this category are often used to treat ADHD and other similar issues.
While each type of drug provides a different reaction, one thing they all have in common is that the feeling only lasts a short while and can result in serious side effects when taken in a way other than prescribed.
According to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 16 million people in the United States abuse prescription drugs. Three main issues attribute to this number:
People who are prescribed the medication begin taking more or change their medication use without consulting the doctor.
People take a medication given to them by a family member or friend because of pain or other health problems.
People choose prescription medications to get high because it is safer or they have easier access.
Recognizing the Signs of Abuse
It can be difficult to know when someone is taking a prescribed medicine in an incorrect way or taking a medication that was not ordered for them. Symptoms may be the same as for many illicit drugs and include one or more of the following:
It is never too late to seek treatment. Drug addiction centers are designed to work with addicts to help them detox and overcome their addictions. Just like with illicit drugs, treatment may take two forms: behavioral therapy and pharmacology. These facilities offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to meet the needs of a variety of people. The best program to choose is one that you feel comfortable with and has the features you are looking for.
Prescription drug abuse can be just as serious as any other type of addiction. If you or someone you love is taking a prescription medication in an abusive way, you need to seek help immediately. Denying the addiction is simply fueling the fire. Do not let a seemingly safe drug turn into a deadly disease.
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