Prescription Drug Addiction – An Ever-Growing Problem

canstockphoto5874319The stories about drug abuse that always grab the headlines are those about illicit drugs like heroin, crystal meth, cocaine and crack. But it is prescription drug addiction that is the USA’s fastest growing drug problem.Prescription drugs obviously are used for physical and mental problems, but they are perceived as “soft” drugs that won’t do as much harm as the hard, illicit drugs. Nonetheless, they are highly addictive and it does not take much for a user to develop a dependency and addiction.

The Growing Problem With Prescription Drug Addiction

The Drug Enforcement Administration has declared that Americans are abusing prescription drugs more widely than all illicit drugs, except marijuana.

After alcohol and tobacco, prescription medications are the most abused drugs by high school students. And they get them by having other people obtain them, not over the internet.

The abuse of prescription drugs places considerable strain on law enforcement and health agencies. Painkillers are the most common drug involved in overdoses.

Of course, the problem is not helped at all by the abundance and prevalence of media advertising for prescription drugs of all kinds.

The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are those that have mind-altering, and thus addictive, properties. These drugs are categorized as pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives and stimulants. Pain relievers are the most commonly abused.

Some of the most addictive prescription drugs are:

  • Vicodin. A powerful opiate painkiller. This drug is potent enough but its damaging properties are heightened if it is taken with other substances.
  • Oxycodone. This painkiller is often likened to heroin. It is expensive and addicts often resort to stealing to get it.
  • Demerol. Dependency on this painkiller will lead to increased tolerance with a corresponding increase in dosage. Withdrawal symptoms are painful and may even cause violence.
  • Xanax. This is used to treat serious anxiety and panic attacks. It depresses the central nervous system and has a fast-acting sedative effect.
  • Valium. This sedative is extremely habit forming. Overdose can lead to blackouts and even death.
  • Amphetamines and Ritalin. These are predominantly prescribed for attention deficit disorder. Often they are abused by shift workers and truck drivers to increase energy and alertness.

How Do You Become Addicted?

Normally, prescription medication is taken only for as long as needed to help resolve a problem. Ideally, with improvement, prescription drugs should be reduced and finally stopped altogether once the problem has been resolved.

However, with prolonged use people can become addicted. After a doctor terminates the prescription, a user may then find another doctor to obtain a new prescription, or else have someone else get it for them.

People become addicted when they start to abuse the medication in higher amounts than prescribed. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse if their parents’ prescription medication is left lying around the house.

Nobody wants to have an addiction of any sort. It can destroy not only the addict’s life, but also the lives of other people and loved ones. The first step to recovery is to seek help from a helpline service where you can talk to people who understand what you’re going through and can offer the best advice.

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