Prescription Painkiller Abuse on the Rise

The use of prescription drugs is on the rise and according to recent surveys the use of medical painkillers has increased by up to 75 percent from 2002-2010. Two of the most popular drugs are Oxycontin and Vicodin and in 2009, more than 15,500 people overdosed on these types of pills.

The trend continues in an upward direction and all signs point to them ruining the lives of countless people.

Use and abuse of these prescription painkillers generally starts out as an innocent way. Often, these pills are initially used in order to ease the pain from medical operations and other pain related diseases, including cancer. There is no doubt that painkillers work and can be used effectively with the best of medical intentions. However as with all good intentions, there can be negative results.

addiction happens gradually
The Descent into Addiction is Gradual

The Descent into Prescription Drug Addiction

When people realize that these painkillers work well at temporarily decreasing physical pain (as well as emotional pain), they may begin to turn to them when the pain is really not bad enough to necessitate taking a narcotic painkiller. Instead, they could choose an over-the-counter less potent, non-narcotic, and non-habit forming pain reducer. Unfortunately, the prescription painkillers are very effective at inducing relaxation and easing the tension of daily life. Because it is as simple as just taking a small pill, people will often use it as an easy, quick fix.

Another major side effect of painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin is that they build up a tolerance in your body very quickly. In order to get the same feeling as the people experienced before they require higher and higher doses of the drug. Along with the physical tolerance comes a psychological tolerance as well, because the body is going to be desensitized to the effects of the drug. An increase in the opiate tolerance is one of the early and most apparent signs that an addiction is forming.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

Once a person gets to the point where they use these types of drugs more recreationally, they often neglect many other physical aspects of their lives. This may include:

  • a lack of exercise
  • neglecting the people they are close to
  • letting their work suffer
  • and generally losing track of their priorities

The most tell-tale sign of a full blown addiction is the withdrawal symptoms experienced due to not taking the drug. The effects of the withdrawal are very unpleasant including emotional distress, as well as having problems with digestion, headaches, tremors and depression. These side effects go away when the drug is ingested again. This is a strong sign that the drug is no longer merely being abused but the person is fully addicted to it.

Getting Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

We recommend reaching out to a drug rehab center to receive treatment for opiate addiction if you or someone you care about is experimenting or possibly becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

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