Prescription drug addiction is quickly turning into a silent epidemic. Millions of Americans every day are battling a prescription drug addiction. Unfortunately these drugs are creating an entirely new face of addiction. Younger and younger individuals are falling victim to prescription drug abuse and addiction. Prescription drug abuse is now the leading cause of injury and fatality in this country. It has also toppled marijuana as the most popular gateway drug. Prescription drug addiction is a serious issue that is steadily progressing into a huge catastrophe.

Types of Abused Prescriptions

-Vicodin and Oxycodone are opioid pain relievers.

-Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin are stimulants that treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Stimulants, such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate are used to treat ADD, ADHD, and narcolepsy.

-Valium or Xanax are stimulants that act on the central nervous system. Central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders

Prescription Drug Affects

Since the early 1990’s physicians have been increasing the number of opioid prescriptions they write. These drugs have been used for several years to treat chronic severe pain, which is a problem millions fight. The medications have been able to give these people enough comfort to carry on with their lives. When these drugs are taken as they are prescribed they can successfully treat chronic pain. Using prescription drugs for a short-term and responsibly rarely leads to addiction. Opioids induce a feeling of euphoria. When the drugs are used inappropriately they cause intense feelings of euphoria, which addicts seek. Opioids release dopamine in the reward part of the brain, which causes the euphoria. Repeated abuse of opioids reduces the brains ability to produce dopamine and limit’s the opioid receptors.

Central nervous system depressants are used by millions to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. The central nervous system depressants affect the brain neurotransmitter GABA. GABA works by decreasing brain activity, which causes a calm. Taking central nervous system depressants over an extended period of time will cause a need to increase dosage. If they are taken with other drugs or alcohol it can slow down heart rate and breathing, which can lead to death. Stopping use abruptly can have life-threatening consequences such as withdrawal seizures.

Stimulants give the body a jump start. It causes increases in alertness, energy, and attention. Stimulants increase heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure, constrict blood vessels, and open the pathways of the respiratory system. These drugs were initially used to treat asthma and obesity, but today they are used to treat ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy, and other problems. When these drugs are abused they have a high risk for addiction.

Addiction Information and Statistics

The abuse and improper use of prescription medications in the United States remains high, without signs of diminishing, and the majority of our society are unaware of the significant problem we as Americans have. In the United States alone, 52 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. The United States occupies 5% of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescriptions drugs. In 2010, there was enough prescription pain medications prescribed to medicated ever adult American for every 4 hours, for one month. There were 8.76 million prescription medicine abusers in 2010. The three main prescription drugs abused were: Painkillers at 5.1 million, Tranquilizers at 2.2 million, and Stimulants at 1.1.

Prescription drugs were obtained by:

-Free from Friend or Relative, 54.2%

-From one Doctor, 18.1%

-Bought/Took from friend or relative, 16.6%

-Drug dealer or stranger, 3.9%

-Other, 6.9%

-Bought on internet, .3%.

The twelve most used reason for teen misuse of prescriptions are:

– “easy to get”

– “available everywhere”

– “they are not illegal”

– “easy to get through other peoples prescriptions”

– “can claim to have prescription is caught”

–  “they are cheap”

– “safer to use than illegal drugs”

– “less shame attached to using”

– “easy to purchase over the internet”

– “can be used as study aides”

– “parents don’t care as much if caught”.

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 pain killers are opioids. Opioids are used to treat varying severities of pain. Along with prescription pain killers, other opioids are morphine and heroin. Prescription pain killer 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.

Signs and Symptoms

-Hostility

-paranoia

slowed brain function

-loss of coordination

-impaired motor function

-hypoxic brain damage

-raised body temperature

-irregular heartbeat

-heart failure

-nausea

-vomiting

-seizures

-drowsiness

-constipation

-depressed breathing

-death: from opioid overdose

Prescription Drug Addiction In the USA

Indiana has been at the top of news reports since the start of the 2015 year and not for good reasons. The state is currently dealing with the largest outbreak of communicable diseases in its history. Prescription drug abuse is at the center of the problem. Intravenous prescription drug abuse has led to the spread of hepatitis C and HIV. The prescription pain killer Opana is the culprit. The drug was discovered to be capable of dissolving in water and injected for abuse. Since the start of the new year, there have been more than 120 reported cases of HIV in the state. The governor has implemented a needle exchange program to limit the extent of the damage and get help for those willing to accept it. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is prevalent in nearly every community. Indiana is just the most recent case of its ability to cause catastrophe.

Importance of getting Help

Prescription medication is extremely addictive and cheap at first. Once medications have all, but run dry the addict will go elsewhere for their high. Unfortunately, this directs them to heroin use which is incredibly volatile, destructive, and fatal. Long term abuse of prescription drugs is extremely hazardous to your health. Seeking professional is very important; all it takes is one phone call to get the help you need.