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January 24, 2014

The Prescription Drug Epedemic

A new study done by Brandeis University shows that there are now more people overdosing from prescription drugs than from heroin and cocaine combined. This is particular the opiod painkillers whis include Oxycodone, Vicodin, methadone and Opana.

Data from the Drug Enforcement Agency shows that the sales of prescription drugs to health care providers and pharmacies have increased 300% since 1999.

Followng are some facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • In 2009 the number of people that were killed by drug poisoning surpassed the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. This was largely driven by prescription paimkillers.
  • In 2010 there were more people aged 12 and above abusing or dependent on prescription painkillers than people abusing heroin, sedatives, cocaine and stimulants combined.
  • Between 1999 and 2008 the number of death from prescription painkiller overdoses have more than tripled.
  • There were nearly half a million emergency room visits in 2009 because of prescription painkiller abuse.

Many people are prescripbed opiod pinkillers for various medical issues and having spoken to hundreds of peole who then became addicted, they almost one ofr one report that they had no idea that these drugs were addictive.

Prescription Painkillers for Medical Reasons

Getting the prescriptions are usually easy if there is any kind of medical reason. I have encountered people who have been prescribed opiod painkillers by a Pain Management Clinic simply by stating that they have some back pain. Little do these people know that they will suddenly be hooked and unable to stop using. Most people work and they suddenly find themselves unable to funciton without the painkillers, so stay on them and often start increasin the use as they are building a tolerance for the drug.

I have spoken to housewifes, blue and white collar workers who admit to now buying the drugs in the street because what they are getting precribed is not enough.

These people call because they do not know how to quit and most often end up having to go to at least detox and often drug rehabilitation as well. Some fail after detox and short term drug rehab and then need to go to a longterm drug treatment center to get over the habit.

One can ask oneself why doctors so easily prescribe these drugs to people knowing that they are so addictive and so hard to get off of after some time of use. It is my opinion that this epedemic is driven by the pharmaceutical compnaies that makes millions of dollars from the sales of these drugs. Doctors are catered to and "sold" on prescribing these drugs.

Prescription Painkillers sold in The Street

In addition to the painkiller prescription drugs that are sold from pharmacies and prescribed by the doctors there is an abundance of these drugs available at street level. I often wonder how so much drugs get on the market. A couple of ways I have been told by the addicts I talk to are. Older people who have difficulties making ends meet will go to a doctor and complain of some pain, get a prescription for the painkillers and then sell them in the street for a profit. Some people "doctor shop", i.e. go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions and then sell some of them in the street.

It is obviosuly that law enforcement is way behind in keeping up with this drug abuse and illegal sales of the drugs.

A person who has become addicted to prescription painkillers whether they are prescribed by a doctor and bought at the pharmacy or buying them in the street will experience horrible withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. These symptoms include diarhea, vomiting, chills, leg cramps, inability to sleep. Most people who just try to quit on their own give up as they simply cannot make it through the 5 - 6 days of these terrible withdrawal symptoms. Some make it through 2 days and then cannot make it through the 3rd day which is usually the worst.

Solutions to Prescription Painkiller Addiction

There are various levels of treatment starting with a detox as short as 3 - 5 days. Then there is substitute drugs such as Suboxone which many think is a solution even though it simply puts them on another drug which is then hard to come off of. Suboxone is sometimes successful if it is simply used as a tool for detox, but often it is done as maintenance which then leaves the person addicted.

It is unfortunate for many otherwise functional invidivuals that the most effective way of fully receoving from prescription painiller use is somewhat long term in-patient treatment. The drugs have an effect on a persons body. There is research showing that these drugs store in the fat tissue of the body causing a person to have negative symptoms, such as difficulties sleeping and anxiety even long after they quit. Biophysical drug treatment programs offer an extended detox which reportedly enable a perosn to fully get back to "normal" even after extended use and abuse of prescription painkillers.

If you, a friend or family member have gotten caught up in the prescription drug use and abuse, the best is to seek treatment as soon as possible after realizing that the user is not able to just quit.

Many people who find, to their surprise, that they have developed an addiction to prescription painkillers are very embarassed to admit it as they feel that they are admitting to being drug addicts. They will often hise it for family and the idea of going into a drug treatment center may be really hard to face.

Anyone in this situation must realize that he or she is not alone, and that the best is to talk about it and seek help.

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