The abuse of prescription drugs is so prevalent in our society that it would not be an exaggeration to refer to it as an epidemic. The negative results of prescription drug abuse are seen in every social, economic, racial and national group in the country. Prescription drug abuse knows no age limit. This fact can be seen by the report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that stated that next to marijuana, prescription drugs account for the top twelve drugs that are abused by school-aged children.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Prescription drug abuse is intentionally using prescription medication without receiving a prescription. Prescription drug abusers would also include those who have received a prescription for the drug that they are using, but use them in a way that is outside of what is prescribed. It also refers to individuals who have received a prescription, but use it solely for the feeling of euphoria that it creates.
Addiction to prescription drugs is definitely not new. It is been around for decades. However, the rate at which prescription abuse is growing in our society is startling and makes it something that merits attention. Prescription drugs have clearly been shown to be beneficial in combating some of the most serious health problems that exist in our society. They have also clearly been shown to be a serious health risk because of their potency and the risk they carry for abuse.
An International Problem
While prescription drug abuse is most prevalent in the United States, it is not a problem that is limited to the US. Reports show that countries around the world have shown an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs. Reports also show that in countries like Denmark and Estonia, opiate painkiller abuse is growing. According to the World Drug Report, up to 70 percent of individuals who are in treatment for prescription drug abuse are abusing benzodiazepines.
The continent of Africa and islands surrounding it face an ongoing challenge with prescription drugs. On the African island of Mauritius, buprenorphine is the prescription drug of choice. In the country of Madagascar, there is such a high demand for treatment by individuals who are addicted to prescription tranquilizers that it is only topped by the demand for treatment for addiction to marijuana.
Australia, India, Afghanistan, Kuwait and a whole host of other countries around the world are all reporting an increase in the amount of people who are are abusing opiates and tranquilizers. It is very clear to see that prescription drug abuse is a problem that the entire world faces.
Identifying Behavioral Patterns Associated with Prescription Drug Abuse
Even though prescription drug use is so prevalent, it is still one of the more difficult types of chemical dependencies to identify. The primary tool in understanding and identifying prescription drug abuse is understanding the main types of prescription drugs that get abused.
Prescription drugs can be broken down into three categories:
1. Stimulants: These are the drugs that people use for attention deficit disorder, such as Ritalin.
2. Opiates: These cover a wide range of drugs that are used to control severe and chronic pain.
3. Tranquilizers or sedatives: These are used as a way to help individuals who are battling with anxiety or who have a problem sleeping.
One of the first signs that an individual is abusing prescription drugs is a strong desire to obtain prescription drugs. Individuals who show signs of addiction to prescription drugs may do any of the following things:
• Frequently try to obtain prescription drugs for refills from physicians
• Claim to lose prescription drugs and ask for replacements
• Steal prescription drugs or “borrow” prescription drugs from friends and family members
• Set appointments with multiple doctors for the same condition
• Provide confusing or inconsistent information about the prescription drugs that they are using or how frequently it should be used
Although this is not a comprehensive list of behaviors that accompany prescription drug abuse, they are warning signs that should be taken seriously by friends, family and physicians who notice them.
An individual who is addicted to prescription drugs will also begin to show changes in the way they interact with others. It is not uncommon for a person who is addicted to prescription drugs to have mood changes that correspond with whether or not the drug is available. They will often become irritable or irrational, especially when the drug they are addicted to is not available. An increase in alcohol consumption in conjunction with taking prescription drugs is also an indicator of prescription drug abuse.
The Benefits of Inpatient Rehab Centers
There is substantial evidence pointing to the benefits that an inpatient prescription drug center can provide. Inpatient prescription drug rehabilitation centers have the tools necessary to provide the intensive therapy that a person will need in order to kick their addiction and get their life back on track. They are staffed with caring, knowledgeable individuals who understand the battle that people who are addicted to prescription drugs face. At the same time, they allow the individual who is battling addiction to interact with others who are fighting the same addiction that they have. They provide the mental, physical and emotional support that is necessary for anyone who is looking to successfully beat their prescription drug addiction.