Opioid prescription drugs alone could kill as many as half a million people in the next decade. Prescription drug addiction is incredibly common and affects people from all walks of life. There is hope for prescription drug addiction; we are standing by to talk to you.
One of our graduatesbecame dependent on prescription painkillers during a 47-day hospital stay
following major surgery. For 47 days, she was dosed with OxyContin®
On Day 48, she was discharged – with no instructions, no plan, and an opioid addiction.
That’s one of the ways it happens. Here’s what prescription drug abuse can look like:
Like our graduate, a person takes a properly prescribed medication for so long the body becomes addicted.
A person takes a medication, prescribed for them, in a dose that’s different than prescribed, for longer than prescribed, or to treat unrelated symptoms.
A person takes someone else’s medication.
A person visits many doctors and received duplicate prescriptions for the same substance; even if it’s meant to treat legitimate pain.
A person uses the drugs to get high, unrelated to any medical use.
It’s a disease
If you’re addicted to prescription medication, your brain chemistry has been changed enough that there’s not enough willpower in the world to resist the cravings. It’s a disease, and it needs to be treated. Have hope. We have walked beside many people who came to us addicted to prescription drugs, and helped them reclaim their lives.
It’s a symptom.
For lots of people, substance abuse began as a means to cope with some problem, pain or situation. Prescription drug abuse is no different. What made you feel so awful that you started taking the medication in the first place?
At Desert Rose, we invest a lot of time and love into helping you heal from those hurts.
What kinds of drugs are we talking about?
These are powerful painkillers that act on the opiod receptions in the brain to reduce perception of pain. They are meant to be taken under strict supervision and only for a brief period of time for acute pain.
These medicines were over-prescribed for many years, often to address chronic pain – they were given to too many people, and used for far too long. But it’s left hundreds of thousands of people addicted.
Steps have been taken to curb their use, but we believe it’s still far too easy to ask for and receive a prescription for Vicodin®, OxyContin®, Percocet®, Oxycodone®, and others.
Tranquilizers and sedatives
Ask almost anybody if they’re carrying too much stress, and they’ll say yes. We’re stressed out, we’re anxious, we can’t sleep, and we go to our doctors for help. Commonly prescribed central nervous system (CNS) depressants include drugs for anxiety and panic attacks, such as Valium® and Xanax®. Drugs for sleep disorders include Halcion® and Ambien®. Barbiturates (Mebaral® and Nembutal®, for example) are sometimes prescribed for anxiety or sleep disturbance, but this is more rare, as these drugs are known to have a high risk of overdose.
These drugs help you feel calm, peaceful, maybe warm and heavy. Your symptoms of anxiety will recede, or you’ll get sleepy and fall asleep more readily. Over time, though, the body will develop a tolerance for the drug, and will require larger doses to achieve the same effect. Long-term use can lead to dependence and withdrawal, if use stops abruptly.
These medications not only boost attention, alertness and attention but also make your heart beat faster, your blood pressure rise and your lungs work harder. Used improperly, they can produce a sense of euphoria and an abundance of energy, and so have great potential to be abused.
Stimulants like Adderall®, and Ritalin® are used to treat ADHD and a handful of other conditions. We’ve seen an explosion in stimulant prescriptions and stimulant abuse. People are looking for an easy way to stay sharp, get more done, and boost performance, and mistakenly consider these drugs “safe” because they’re so often prescribed for children.
It’s an epidemic?
It is. Opioid abuse could kill as many as a half-million people in the next decade. The NIH reports that 54 million people have used opioids, CNS depressants and/or stimulants for non-medical reasons at least once.
It’s also a double-edged sword. More people are abusing and becoming addicted to prescription drugs than ever before, because it’s so easy to ask for (and get) a prescription. But the medical community is becoming more and more aware, and doctors won’t keep taking out their prescription pads for the same person. When access to opioids dries up, addicted people are turning to a chemically similar drug – heroin.
Don’t be a number.
We find this frightening and heartbreaking: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 80 percent of individuals with an opioid do not receive treatment.
I think I may be addicted to opioids. How can I be sure?
First, know that you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. You can call us at 561.459.8951 for a private consultation with one of our treatment specialists. But if you still want some general guidelines, we (and all reputable treatment centers) use the same diagnostic manual to determine whether an individual suffers from alcohol abuse disorder. Here are the 11 criteria; the severity of the disease depends on how many of the following are true; if a person can say yes to six or more, their disease can be diagnosed as severe:
Opioids are taken in larger amounts, or over a longer period of time, than initially intended.
You often think about cutting down, controlling, or stopping your opioid use.
You spend a great deal of time and energy pursuing, obtaining, using and recovering from using the drug(s).
You crave the drug(s).
Because of your opioid use, you neglect responsibilities at home, at school, and/or at work.
You keep taking the drug(s), even though it has a profound negative affect on your relationships with your family and friends.
You’ve given up activities you used to enjoy as a result of your drug use.
You keep using the drug(s), even if it puts you or others in dangerous situations.
You keep using, even though you know you have physical or psychological side effects caused by the drug(s).
You’ve developed a tolerance for the drug(s), so you need to use a greater amount, or use more frequently, to achieve the same result (or you use the same amount and don’t notice any effect).
You experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug(s), or you take the drug(s) to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Why do some people become addicted, and others don’t?
We wish science had evolved enough to answer this question completely. Right now, we look at risk factors to determine whether you’re likely to become addicted if you use illegal drugs. Nothing – and no one – can predict whether you’ll become an addict. We’ve seen and known plenty of people who rose from less-than-perfect childhoods and because solid, successful adults. According to the NIH, you have a greater vulnerability to addiction if:
You were aggressive as a child
You lacked parental supervision
You had poor social skills
You experimented with drugs or alcohol (and the earlier the experimentation, the greater the risk)
Drugs and alcohol were readily available to you at your school or in your neighborhood or family.
You grew up in poverty
Likewise, some people grow up with love, privileges, and protection – and still develop addiction problems. But you may be protected from a tendency to abuse drugs if:
You show good self-control
You had parental guidance and support
You experienced positive and fulfilling relationships
You did well in school
Your school had a strict anti-drug policy and anti-drug education
Whether your neighborhood was well-off or not, there was a sense of community pride
I feel helpless.
We understand. We love you, and we don’t want you to feel that way. Let us walk beside you.
Call us right now at (844) 338-5587, and we’ll tell you what you can do right now – before you lose the nerve – to begin to rebuild your life. We feel passionate that all you need to do when you arrive at Desert Rose is to start getting better. That’s why everything is already in place for you to walk in the door and begin your recovery.