Category Archives: Prescription Drug Addiction

Addiction Often Starts with Legitimate Prescription Drug Use

It took a long time for this picture to come to light – how all too people often become addicted after taking medications that were prescribed by their doctors.

It’s not exactly a new trend, but it’s one that has seen explosive growth in the last two decades. Here’s a few milestones on the way to our current epidemic:

Late 1800s: Doctors prescribed laudanum for pain, menstrual cramps, “hysteria” and many other problems. Laudanum is opium dissolved in alcohol and it created addicts.

cocaine advertisement early 1900sTurn of century: Patent medicines offered cannabis, opium, morphine, alcohol and cocaine for anything that ails you. Because the medications were “patented,” they didn’t have to disclose their ingredients. Gradually, the distribution of these drugs was brought under the control of physicians and laws controlling their possession and sale made it a little harder to become addicted.

1950s: Drugs like tranquilizers (Miltowns) and barbiturates (sleeping pills) began to be more widely prescribed. Some people, like Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, died from overdoses. Continue reading

Teens, Young Adults and Opiate Addiction: How Does it Start?

It’s a terrible thing, but far too often these days, when a teen or young adult overdoses on an opiate drug, the parents didn’t even know there was a problem. Or maybe they did know there was a problem and they tried repeatedly to handle it but their loved one could never stay sober. Finally, an overdose of heroin or a painkiller or a combination of drugs takes him away from them.

How can this be happening with our young people?

The following is an excellent article on the phenomenon of teenagers getting started on painkillers, especially those in athletic programs.

High School Athletes and Prescription Painkiller Misuse

As the writer discusses, with too much pressure to get back into play before injuries are healed, a young person can learn to rely on painkillers to make the aches go away. On the other hand, doctors are still, by and large, not trained in the best ways to prevent dependence on these drugs. Many doctors still routinely prescribe 30 days of painkillers for a fairly minor injury or dental procedure. Sometimes all a person needs is a few days of pills for an injury. Continue reading

One US State Rejects Database Aimed to Prevent Prescription Addiction

prescription drug useThe non-medical use of prescription drugs is identified as the use of the drug for the feeling or experience the drug causes—the high.  The misuse of these powerful and potentially highly addictive drugs can involve taking too much or too little of the drug; or taking it too long or too often.  Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a nationwide problem, with states attempting to put safeguards in place to curtail the escalation of abuse, and minimize the dire consequences.  The state of Missouri stands alone on the issue of a prescription drug database. Continue reading

Not Just Suburban Families Suffering from Painkiller Addiction

sillouette of a soldierFor the last several years, the mainstream media has been reporting on the way that painkiller addiction has been working its way into the homes of people who never would have used an illegal drug. This addiction was initiated by the legitimate prescribing of painkillers like Vicodin, Lortab or OxyContin. As a person’s body builds tolerance to the pills, they need more of the drug just to feel normal and keep the pain away. This route to addiction is insidious because the person using the medication may not even realize when legitimate medical use slips into misuse and addiction.

Now, the story is emerging of how soldiers returning from deployments overseas either come back addicted to pain medication or how it develops after they continue the medication in the US.

One of the latest media stories on this tragic problem appeared in the Huffington Post. According to a study published on their website, nearly half the soldiers who return from deployment have chronic pain and 15% are using opioid (synthetic opiates) painkillers.

It’s also notable that of those taking painkillers, 44% state that they have had mild or no pain in the last month. Continue reading

Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

prescription pillsJust fifteen years ago, prescription drug abuse was a minor subject. Even ten years ago, it took a back seat to the routes to addiction we were used to. Alcohol and marijuana were the primary channels to addiction, not pills.

But now, prescription drug abuse is headline news. Many people start their drug use by abusing pills and so many of these people got starting taking pills because of a legitimate prescription for pain.

In a recent Senate Caucus meeting a couple of weeks ago on the subject of prescription drugs there were some strong opinions voiced during that meeting on how pill abuse could be eliminated. Continue reading

Former NFL Players Sue the League for Misuse of Prescription Medications

football playersThis is not a blog post about the sport. It’s about the medical treatment of the players. It’s about the indiscriminate use of prescription medications to keep these players on the field at whatever cost to their physical and mental health.

I’ve been aware of these issues for a long time, because I’ve seen so many former athletes of every shape and size need drug rehab after all the injuries they’ve suffered.

The issue of players being addicted to prescription drugs after they leave the league has been building for several years now. In 2009, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Randy Grimes went public with his addiction to painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, and he got clean at a rehab in Florida. He said he was motivated to get sober after another player from the Buccaneers, Tom McHale, died of an overdose of painkillers and cocaine. Continue reading

New Painkiller Zohydro May Be Next Big Addiction Risk

painkillerIn light of the headlines in recent months involving the nationwide epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction, you might think that every possible effort is being made to crack down on this major public health problem in order to save lives from the damage caused by addiction and overdose. You would be wrong! Officials at the highest levels, the ones you would expect to be the most concerned about stemming the tide of painkiller abuse, have recently given approval to a new type of painkiller that is even more powerful, and therefore more addictive and dangerous, than what is already on the market.

The new drug is hydrocodone bitartrate, and it is being marketed under the name Zohydro. How much more powerful is Zohydro? It has been reported as being as much as 10 times more potent than OxyContin and between 5 and 10 times stronger than Vicodin. This drug is so powerful, indeed, that even the manufacturer, Zogenix, Inc., has acknowledged that taking as few as two pills, or one pill in the case of a child, could easily result in an overdose. Continue reading

Twisting the Prescription Drug System for Profit

Prescription drugs and moneyWe all know the way the prescription painkiller distribution system is supposed to work. A person with real pain that reduces the quality of his (or her) life visits a properly licensed doctor. To help that patient with the pain until recovery is complete, the doctor prescribes the minimum therapeutic dose, that is then accurately dispensed by an honest pharmacy. Continue reading

A Growing Tragedy Manifests Itself in Addiction to Painkiller Medications

Get off Pain Pills

For many people, this addiction starts with the use of pain medication after an injury or surgery or maybe just a tooth extraction. The pain may be real in the beginning but the painkiller use goes on after the pain goes away. Maybe the person just seems to feel better and not have so many aches and pains when they take those pills.

Many people will not realize that there is any problem when they need more of that painkiller just to keep the aches away. But you see, the body is developing a tolerance to the opiates, meaning that more of the drug is needed to create the same relief that a lower dose used to do.

This can happen again and again, with the doctor increasing the dosage each time the patient reports that the drug is not handling the pain. But the doctor may finally call it quits on the increases. He may even refuse to prescribe any more pain medication at all. But now the person needs the drug just to feel normal, just so he doesn’t don’t feel achy and sick, just to function. Now the person is in trouble because there’s no legitimate prescription to rely on.

So what’s the answer? There’s several choices. The person can go “doctor shopping” for their higher dosage needs. This means she selects three or four or more doctors in different parts of town or even different towns and makes the same complaints to each one. Then fills the prescriptions at different pharmacies.

Or he can go to a pain management clinic, one that doesn’t even require a physical exam. Of course, these are being closed down in many states so this might only work for a little while.

Or she can figure out a way to commit prescription fraud. Maybe at one of those doctor’s offices she can steal a prescription pad and fill out her own orders for drugs. Or pretend to be a doctor’s office and call in a prescription.

Or he can commit theft, stealing pain pills out of a friend’s purse. If he has more nerve, maybe he can hold up a pharmacy and make off with the OxyContin or hydrocodone.

She might be able to find an internet pharmacy that will ship her drugs from India or China but there’s no telling what the purity or dosage of these drugs would be like.

Or there are drug dealers who traffic in these drugs along with heroin and cocaine. If any of these other actions land him in jail, he can probably hook up with some good connections there.

Of course, there is one other option. She can switch to heroin, as many people do when their sources of prescription pain medication dry up. If she is lucky, she won’t get really pure heroin unexpectedly which might cause her to overdose by accident.

These Were the Choices Many Americans Faced on their Way to Becoming Addicted to Pain Medication

Addiction to painkillers is rather unique for the way that many people start with legitimate use and progress to addiction. The same can’t be said for heroin or cocaine, for example.

Recent statistics released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show just how bad it’s gotten. According to SAMHSA, prescription drug addiction is up 430% from 1999 to 2009, based on the number of people entering treatment for this problem.

Flanking this statistic is another fact: In 2010, the most popular prescription drug in America was hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever, combined with acetaminophen – aka Vicodin or Lortab. There were 131.2 million prescriptions written for this drug in 2010.

Addiction Calls for Thorough Rehab to Restore the Addicted Person’s Ability to Live Sober Again

Pain Pill Rehab

When a person loses his sobriety, he needs a drug rehab program he can rely on to bring him back to lasting sobriety. While some programs state a recovery rate of 10% to 20%, the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program maintains a success rate of 70%. There’s no secret to it – it’s just an effective rehab program that thoroughly addresses the damage done by addiction and that teaches each person the life skills needed to make drug-free decisions.

Narconon objectives are to offer a long-term residential treatment program that will give a recovering addict enough time to claim back the personal integrity that was lost during addiction, and to show each person how he or she can stay stable in the face of life’s difficulties and stresses.

Then add the unique Narconon New Life Detoxification Program that helps each person reduce the cravings that result from extended drug use. This program utilizes time in a low-heat sauna combines with generous nutritional supplementation and moderate exercise to activate the body’s ability to flush out old stored drug toxins. The elimination of these toxins has been proven to help recovering addicts lower cravings or even make them disappear completely.

You can get off pain pills. Before you commit to any drug treatment program, find out about the Narconon program by calling Narconon International at 1-800-775-8750 today.