Prescription drug abuse continues to grow in the United States. It is currently the number one prescribed nation in the world. It consumes more opium than any other nation. Prescription drugs are now the number one gateway drug in the nation and the leading cause of overdose related injury and death. It has also caused the rapid increase in popularity of heroin, which has in turn drastically raised the heroin addiction and overdose rates in the country as well.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

How Someone Becomes Addicted

After most serious injuries or surgery a physician will prescribe some type of pain medication to increase comfort for the individual. This way they are able to leave the hospital, move about normally, and get proper rest. Unfortunately, the medication that is prescribed is incredibly addictive and leads to dependency issues. Other ways are through experimentation, which is high in prescribed medication because of their availability. All one has to do is go into their, a friends, or family members medicine cabinet and they will have at their hands a plethora of medications to choose from. What most people do not understand is that prescription painkillers are opioids. Opioids are used to treat varying severity of pain. Along with prescription painkillers, other opioids are morphine and heroin. Prescription painkiller abuse/addiction is creating a perfect road for individuals to graduate to heroin. They are tuning their bodies up for heroin experimentation, abuse and addiction. The road to heroin addiction has been created by Americans abuse of prescription opioids.

Statistics Relating to Prescription Drug Abuse

There has been a surge of recent publications on the problems this country is having with prescription drug abuse. It is estimated that 52 million Americans use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetimes; many use them for recreational purposes. The amount of deaths that are related to prescription painkillers has quadrupled since 1999. Roughly 50 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses every day. Prescription painkillers cause more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits every year. These numbers are staggering. The American prescription drug problem requires serious thought and action.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication that is used to treat individuals who are suffering from neuropathic pain and others suffering from seizures in those with epilepsy. It also has use for those with restless leg syndrome. The drug is in a class of anticonvulsants and has some pain killing characteristics. It changes the way the body perceives pain and reduces brain activity. The drug has recently been used to treat those suffering from marijuana dependence. When this drug is taken as directed by a physician it can help with various issues, but should never be abused. The drug can create very intense side effects and cause dependence. It has also been recently discovered that the drug is gaining popularity for abuse.

Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin, up until recently, was not a popular drug for abuse. It now is becoming a popular drug, therefore it is relatively unknown for its side effects. The effects of this drug will vary on the dosage, individual, health history, past experience and expectations. Those who have shared their experiences have stated feeling: euphoria, improved sociability, marijuana-type high, relaxation and sense of calmness. These side effects are the reason that the drug is becoming increasingly popular. Like all other drugs the abuse of them is very dangerous and could cause serious long term side effects.

Side Effects of Abuse

The side effects of abuse will vary from individual to individual. There have been cases where the person abusing the drug feeling sensations such as “zombie-like”. These side effects include: blurry vision, double vision, dizziness, headache, shaking, anxiety, memory problems, uncontrolled eye movement, fatigue, coordinate problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, heartburn, fever, increased appetite and weight gain, itchy eyes, and flu-like symptoms. Initial abuse of the drug is very dangerous and increased use could prove to be fatal. Detecting abuse is an important and sometimes difficult task. The earlier and addiction is detected the better. Long term drug abuse can cause difficulty with treatment, which can be avoided if it is caught early. As a person continues to abuse this drug they will require more and more of it to achieve the desired effects. As such, the individual will be forced to repeatedly refill a prescription. They will go to the doctor more often than normal. The addict will also visit the emergency room often to obtain more of the prescription medication. They will lie, cheat and steal in order to continue to abuse that drug. No matter what the drug of choice is the addict will exhibit a number of these behaviors. The addict will show different behaviors that are unusual for that person.

Over Prescribing

Experts today are torn on why prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Doctors are writing more prescriptions for people than ever before. With a higher quantity available to the public, this results in higher abuse. Adding to the number prescriptions written by doctors, there are now online pharmacies where individuals can get the prescription drugs they want. Since there is such a high number of prescription medication available, kids today need only open their parent’s medicine cabinets to get high. Some even reporting to have pill parties, where they gather at someone’s house with all the pills they can grab. Only to pour the mixture in a bowl and blindly take whatever looks good.

Government Programs

In an attempt to battle this ongoing epidemic of prescription drug misuse, authorities have created several programs. The education of our youths is the first line of defense against prescription drug abuse. Informing the next generation of the dangers of misusing pills is paramount in changing the culture created by the country and pharmaceutical industry. Which, just to iterate is one of the most profitable industries today, even in recession. The next stage of the battle against prescription drug use is the dispensaries that authorities have set up. Several cities and towns have set up places where individuals can come to properly dispose of their unused or expired medications. Prescription drug abuse is very high in youths under the age of 18 because they are getting the drugs from their parents for free. If communities come together and get rid of their medications properly, then the problem with prescription drug misuse will be dealt a heavy blow.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction to Gabapentin getting help is important. The longer an addiction is allowed to continue the worse it can get and the harder it can be to get and complete treatment. If you or someone you know is experience any of the aforementioned side effects or is exhibiting any number of the negative behaviors speak with a professional. There are a number of great websites and hotlines that can provide useful information. It is best to speak with an addiction specialist because they can provide you with all of the pertinent information about recovery and treatment. Help is out there, do not be afraid to pick up the phone and call.