Prescription Drug Addiction


Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic. While some people set out to abuse prescription drugs to get high, others find themselves addicted to painkillers and other drugs after taking them during recovery from an illness, accident or injury.

People who take prescription drugs that are not prescribed for them or in greater doses than prescribed put themselves at risk for addiction as well as the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Depressed breathing

Research shows that prescription drug abuse is widespread. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2008, 15.2 million Americans ages 12 and up had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

Treating Prescription Drug Addiction
Whether an individual is addicted to prescription drugs, heroin or another opiate, it is critical to understand that addiction is a chronic brain disease that can be treated. Addiction experts agree that the best treatment for prescription drug addiction is a combination of the following interventions:

  • Behavioral treatments - These treatments, which include individual, group and family counseling, teach people how to function without prescription drugs, handle cravings and avoid relapse.
  • Medication – Prescription painkiller addiction can be treated with medications such as methadone. Medically assisted treatment helps ease drug cravings and the pain of withdrawal, increasing the likelihood that the patient will stay in treatment and avoid relapse.

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