Leading Expert Warns about Prescription Drugs Abuse
According to a leading expert in behavioral health, prescription drug abuse is not just a local problem – it is now a national issue. Mike Stein, director of Westcott Behavioral Health at Hamilton Health Care System in Georgia, says around 10% of residents in his local area used prescription hydrocodone in 2014. This equates to around 560,000 pills being popped a day. Nationally, the picture is even bleaker.
Prescription Drug Abuse Top Ten List
52 million Americans admit to using prescription drugs as their recreational drug of choice. OxyContin, Xanax, Vicodin, Suboxone, Adderall, Valium, Percocet and Ambien are all in the top ten of most abused prescription drugs. So how did this situation come about and what can we do about it?
A Drug of Choice for Many
Given a choice, most users would not actively choose to be a prescription drug addict, as it really is not a great lifestyle choice for anyone. Usually, however, addicts start out taking their prescription drug of choice for legitimate reasons. Anxiety, panic disorders, and pain because of a workplace injury – all of these things usually result in a prescription from your medical practitioner for one drug or another. If you suffer from high levels of anxiety, your physician may suggest you try Xanax, whereas OxyContin is a powerful narcotic pain reliever that can help with severe pain. Unfortunately, although these drugs start off helping the patient, in time many people end up hopelessly addicted to their drug of choice.
Prescription drugs are no different to heroin or crack cocaine. Your body becomes resistant to the effects of the drug and as time goes on, you need larger amounts to achieve the same effect. Your body chemistry changes and you become chemically dependent on the drug. If you don’t take the drug, you don’t feel normal, so you take more and more just to feel like you used to feel.
The System is Flawed
The system is not helping the problem of prescription drug abuse. Workers who suffer from accidents in the workplace – of which there are many – are often prescribed powerful drugs. Their insurance scheme is happy to pay for the drug, so the worker takes as much as they need to help with the pain, and before they realize what’s happened, they are addicted.
Physicians all too often prescribe drugs like Xanax and Valium without monitoring the patient’s usage. The patient begins to need increasing amounts of the drug, but instead of reviewing their records, the doctor just writes a new prescription and away the patient goes. Physicians need to take more responsibility for drugs like this, so addiction can be nipped in the bud before it becomes a problem.
There is also the issue of prescription drug disposal. Many of the drugs have a street value and if found will be sold on to addicts. People with supplies of drugs they no longer need should always take care to dispose of them responsibly.
If you think you may have a problem or you would like more information about the Georgia drug detox program, talk to your physician.