Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse

Addiction to prescription drugs is considered worse than addiction to cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription drug abuse has acquired the form of an epidemic in the U.S.

If a person regularly takes drugs not prescribed by a doctor or exceeds the recommended dosage, he is becoming a prescription drug addict which can even turn fatal. Another case of prescription drug addiction is when a person tends to regularly take the drug that is prescribed to someone else.

According to the study titled “Prescription Drug Abuse,” conducted in 2014, an estimated 6.8 million individuals currently abuse prescription drugs in the United States. According to Michael Klein, Ph.D., Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Controlled Substance Staff, “The prevalence of misuse and abuse of prescription medications is concerning. Health care professionals should encourage patients to be aware of early signs of drug abuse, which can include using the prescription more frequently or at higher doses, but without medical direction to do so.”

Another study titled “Prescription Drug Abuse: Epidemiology, Regulatory Issues, Chronic Pain Management with Narcotic Analgesics,” published in 2012, throws light on this growing epidemic and states that despite prescription drugs being used to treat medical and psychiatric illnesses effectively and appropriately, incidences of abuse have escalated alarmingly over the past decade.

Who is at risk?

It has been observed that many healthcare providers don’t have proper training in pain treatment and addiction and are unsure about giving safe opioid prescriptions to patients. Studies have shown that some people may come under high-risk category and may be more vulnerable to prescription drug abuse. Some of the high-risk factors include easy access to prescription drugs, younger age, presence of mental health disorder, addiction to other substances and lack of knowledge about this. Prescription drug abuse can have a long-term impact on physical and mental health.

Every year, prescription painkiller overdose results in about 15,000 deaths, which is more than the fatalities caused jointly by heroin and cocaine overdose. As pain medications are easily available over the counter, its non-medical use and abuse has increased dramatically. Creating awareness among healthcare practitioners is essential to reduce it while making headway toward providing an effective treatment.

Prescription opioid analgesic overdose deaths have increased to almost 17,000 per year in the U.S., as per reports. According to experts, increase in heroin addiction is linked to prescription opioid abuse.

The way forward

State-run electronic database, called Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), is being used to track prescription and dispensing of drugs to patients. This database provides prior information on suspected abuse, and can also give critical information regarding a patient’s substance prescription history. This information is easily accessible and can help identify high-risk patients. PDMPs continue to be a popular tool to track painkiller prescription and protect patients at risk.

Solutions for Drug Abuse Can Help

Millions of people across the world truly believe that there are no solutions for drug abuse, because they are addicted to drugs.

Many times, those addicted to drugs will find themselves in terrible financial situations because of their drug use. All the money that they have will be spent obtaining them to feed their addiction instead of using finances for important things like children, bills, food and other responsibilities. This is just one reason that finding solutions for drug abuse is so important when these have taken control of your life.

Another way that abuse impacts life negatively is negative health. Any drug that an individual is abusing will undeniably leave them in poor physical health over time. Finding solutions for drug abuse can prevent many potentially deadly health issues such as cardiac arrest, heart disease and lung cancer. Of course, these are some of the most serious health consequences of drug abuse, but a possibility nonetheless.

On many occasions, solutions for drug abuse are needed because drugs have left an individual facing prison or other legal consequences. Addicts will do almost anything to obtain drugs; including break the law. Stealing, robbing or hurting other people to get drugs or money to get drugs is not uncommon for people under the influence of drugs. There are endless stories in jails across the country from inmates who can’t even remember how they ended up there, because they were under the influence of drugs when they were taken in.

Here is How to find Solutions for Drug Abuse

There are many effective and affordable options for individuals or families searching for a way to break free from addiction to drugs. First, tap into the recovery community in your area. This means going to alcoholic or narcotic meetings and following the process that they recommend. This has worked for millions of people. Another possibility is talking to a family doctor to find out if there are effective detox centers or substance abuse facilities in your area that work. Also, there are endless abuse hotlines in every community that are designed to help people who cannot stop using drugs. Professional drug treatment centers are another option that have givens many people addicted to drugs the tools they need to stop using.

The negative impact that addiction to drugs have on life are tremendous. Always remember that there are solutions for drug abuse available that can help.

Prescription Drug Abuse may Instigate Violence

Prescription drug abuse can inflict harm in more ways than one. It has been found that prescription drugs can also incite tendency of violence in the abuser. According to a study, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence towards Others,” published in 2010, “Acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs.”

Drugs like Varenicline and antidepressants like serotonergic are strongly implicated in such cases. The research called for “more prospective studies” to systematically evaluate this side effect and establish any incidences, confirm differences among drugs and identify any additional common features.

According to the researchers, the adverse effects of prescription drug abuse are seldom studied despite the fact that non-medical use of drugs induces violent thoughts and acts towards others. It is a common occurrence in our society. Several studies have already been conducted with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through meta-analysis of clinical trials to study the risks of suicidal behaviors – but not amounting to violence – associated with antidepressants.

We also come across numerous drugs that contain warnings, necessitated by the FDA, to doctors or patients about the possibility of aggressive or violent acts. This is also a clear indication that certain drugs do have the capacity to trigger violent behavior, if consumed in ways other than prescribed.

Drugs that come with such warnings include Varenicline, Zolpidem, Montelukast and all antidepressant pills. The patients taking Varenicline, the antidepressants or quetiapine are advised to contact a physician immediately if they experience any aggressiveness or anger within and feel inclined to violence. Whether it is the prescription drug abuse treatment in California – among the best in the U.S. – or elsewhere, seeking prescription drug addiction help is the only solution in such cases.

This study aimed at evaluating and summarizing the evidence about reported acts of violence associated with therapeutic drugs. The researchers studied all serious adverse drug events reported to the FDA from 2004 through the third quarter of 2009.

Takeaways

In a span of 69 months, the study “identified 484 evaluable drugs that accounted for 780,169 serious adverse event reports of all kinds.” There were 1,937 cases of violence, which included homicides and physical assaults.

Several drugs were also identified having a close association with violence. These included Varenicline (a smoking cessation aid), 11 antidepressant drugs, three drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and five hypnotic/sedatives. The psychoactive medicines accounted for most of the drugs goading people to violence.

Another study, “Mental Health and Rape History in Relation to Non-medical Use of Prescription Drugs in a National Sample of Women,” is also of the opinion that prescription drugs and interpersonal violence are closely interrelated. According to it, “All forms of prescription drug use was associated with increased severity of assault history, with multiple assault victims being the most likely to have used these prescription drugs in the past month.”

The study achieved an important advancement in the realm of prescription drug abuse. It revealed that there are a large number of cases of drug-alcohol facilitated rape or DAFR, which is a direct consequence of prescription drug abuse.

“Lifetime history of DAFR (rape by means of the perpetrator’s deliberate intoxication of the victim), PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder), and other forms of substance abuse were identified as factors significantly associated with NMUPD (non-medical use of prescription drugs) and should be assessed by medical professionals prior to selection of treatment options,” it concluded.