Today the abuse of prescription drugs is more prevalent than ever. The “Rx generation” obtain fraudulent prescriptions from doctors or street dealers on a daily basis, with medications like OxyContin and Vicodin increasingly taking the place of heroin on the horizon of substance abuse trends.
Addiction to narcotic pain relievers requires comprehensive drug treatment as in the case of other illicit drug addictions–meth, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, etc. States like Florida have, in recent years, implemented strong programs to monitor and reduce prescription painkiller mal-prescription as well as its abuse in patients.
You may have noticed such an epidemic in your own community. Why do people abuse painkillers? What can be done to effectively stop this serious public health threat from continuing to spread?
Understanding Opioid Abuse
There are a number of reasons why people take painkillers, many of them stemming from some sort of injury or health condition (including illicit drug use.) Narcotic painkillers provide an easy way to manage pain after an accident or injury.
Some people turn to painkillers for help with emotional issues (anxiety, paranoia) while others self-medicate for severe pain or to reduce withdrawal symptoms caused by other drug use. In taking painkillers, individuals notice that their emotional problems seem distanced while high since, like other opiate drugs, prescription painkillers give the user a euphoric feeling and a temporary sense of well-being. It is this sought-after euphoric feeling that makes painkillers so severely addictive both physically and mentally.
When an individual regularly takes painkillers, their body begins to build up a tolerance to the medication. They soon find that in order to gain that euphoric feeling, increasingly higher doses of the drug are required. When a prescribed allotment of opioid pills are not enough, many painkiller addicts obtain their drugs off of the street. A high tolerance to painkillers is a key sign that someone has developed an addiction.
As with any circumstance of substance abuse, painkillers are abused as an attempted means of escape from an individual’s present life problems, whether pain-related or not.
When someone has a painkiller addiction, the obtaining of opioids becomes priority over the many other important things in their life. A painkiller abuser may manifest any of the following red flags in their lifestyle:
- Poor job performance
- Lack of motivation
- Personal belongings/household in disarray
- Always struggling financially despite steady income
- Criminal activity such as theft
Family and loved ones who surround a painkiller abuser often report feeling confused, scared, frustrated and betrayed by the abuser’s actions while high on opioids. It is important to remember that such behaviors listed above are driven by a serious condition of addiction and dependency. With treatment, such behavioral patterns can be reversed.
Florida Takes a Stand Against Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Recent success in combating prescription painkiller abuse in Florida is largely due to the partnered efforts of legislators and law enforcement. The state, once known for its high levels of prescription abuse, pills mills, unethical and excessive prescribing in the medical community, has cracked down on the issue, setting standards and positive examples for the rest of the nation.
After federal-level action against questionable and excessive prescribing practices as well as the institution of a prescription drug monitoring program, reports indicate that Florida’s prescription pill-related deaths were seen to decrease in 2011 after a number of serious changes were implemented. Further and more specifically, oxycodone-related tragedies were seen to decrease by at least 17%.
A person suffering from addiction to powerful opioid painkillers must seek rehabilitation to prevent further harm to themselves. For more information about treatment options, call Narconon at 1-800-468-6933.