Prescription Drug Abuse: The New Craze

Describes why prescription drug abuse is so popular,what the signs are, and who is most at risk.

When you think of drug abuse you probably think of crack/cocaine,heroin, marijuana etc. The drug abuse that many overlook is the addiction to prescription medication.Most who are addicted to prescription medication usually obtain the habit after an injury when they are first prescribed the medication. It is actually one of the easiest forms of addiction to have because you can get the medication legally. Many do this by visiting emergency rooms with complaints to acquire medication.

The two most frequently used medications in regards to addiction are benzodiazepines and opioid pain relievers. Some common benzodiazepines are clonazepam and lorazepam. Some commonly used opioid pain relievers are hydrocodone, methadone, and and morphine. Together the two accounted for 219,784 cases of drug abuse in 2002 and the numbers have continued to rise since. Studies have shown that senior citizens, women, and young adults are more likely to be addicted to the medications. Senior citizen are more likely to be addicted to prescription medication because they are prescribed more long term medications. Six percent of young adults ages 18-25 report using nonprescription medications within a month’s time. A survey also showed that 63 percent of young adults who use prescription medication also use marijuana. Women fall into this category because they are 55 percent more likely to be prescribed medications that are more addictive. 

People who are addicted to prescription medication may be able to stay under the radar a little longer than those addicted to more mainstream drugs. However, they eventually display the same behavior. They often steal to pay for their drugs, shop around for physicians, have multiple physicians, go to the physician or emergency room very frequently, have a hard time paying bills, and have poor performance at work or school.

My mother works for a woman whose son and daughter-in-law have a prescription drug problem. The two are constantly seeing physicians, have trouble holding jobs, and paying bills. They often have their utilities shut off. Every weekend each one has a different ailment that they need a pain reliever for. They steal from his mother who only gets a social security check each month. This is just one incident, there are many more stories all across America.

People who would like to stop their abuse is highly advised to seek inpatient treatment. There are withdraw symptoms as with any detox. The abuse of prescription drugs can be deadly.

Image by Nils Geylen via Flickr

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