Prescription drug abuse is a prevalent and growing problem in the United States and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies this type of drug abuse as “the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than prescribed, or for the experience of feelings elicited”. This is a relatively broad definition used to classify drug abuse, however, it makes sense and helps give an understanding of just how large a problem it has become. In many cases, prescription drug abuse can begin in an individual’s teenage years. For some adolescents, going through their parents’ medicine cabinet and experimenting with what they find is their first foray into the work of prescription drugs.
Commonly abused prescription drugs include opioids, depressants, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and derivatives of morphine. There are many ways that a person can get their hands on these types of drugs, it becomes more and more difficult to keep prescription drug abuse going because the individual’s tolerance will keep increasing as they use. In my experience, the prescription drug industry can be very insidious - it can be easy for people to get drugs by going to multiple doctors or filling prescriptions online through Canadian pharmacies or other overseas pharmacies. This can be dangerous because sometimes the the drug packages can be intercepted or the drugs are not what is expected.
Once a person begins to abuse prescription drugs it is very difficult to stop. Many of the clients I work with need to use an intervention in order to get a handle on prescription drug abuse. This method can be very successful and the clean and sober environment of a rehabilitation facility is really beneficial because it helps break unhealthy patterns that have been created over the time of the abuse. Detoxification can also be a step in the process if a person has become physically addicted to the drugs.
There are many treatment centers that can help with prescription drug abuse. Many of the rehabilitation centers in the United States offer various types of treatment. An intensive, inpatient program can be ideal for someone with severe substance abuse. A less intensive, outpatient program can be very useful for someone that has a less severe substance abuse issue or someone with a job or lifestyle that cannot afford to take time off for a residential program. Aftercare is also a great way to create a strong foundation in recovery.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.