Are you or somebody you love taking an addictive drug? Are you abusing them? Many people are prescribed drugs by their doctor for medical purposes. Pain and illness are a fact of life. While many people are prescribed medications for ongoing conditions, some people only take them short-term. When the drugs are addictive, however, somebody may continue seeking them out when they don't medically need them.
It’s confusing that doctors prescribe drugs that are easy to abuse.
For many doctors, the goal is to make you feel better. As a result, they may prescribe medications that are addictive, believing it’s worth the risk to help you get better.
Sadly, many people start their journey towards addiction through legally prescribed drugs.
Addictive Prescription Drugs
Many types of prescription drugs have side effects that people find enjoyable. From the dawn of time, people have used substances to alter their thoughts and feelings. So it’s no surprise that some patients who take drugs may try to enhance the pleasurable side effects by abusing them.
There are a lot of different drugs that can be addictive when used in another way than prescribed. Here’s a look at the most common ones:
- Opioids and opiates. Drugs like Fentanyl, Tramadol, Oxycontin, and Codeine are all drugs that can be highly addictive when used differently than prescribed. Fentanyl is particularly potent and only used with end-of-life care or during surgery. Some people who become addicted to these drugs end up seeking them out online or on the street.
- Diet pills. These drugs feel similar to amphetamines and often give the takers an “adrenaline boost” or mood boost. Sometimes people will take more of the medication because they want to lose weight.
- Anti-anxiety pills, also known as benzodiazepines. Xanax and Klonopin can help fend off an anxiety attack, but the truth is that they are also highly addictive when a person takes more than prescribed. In addition, detoxing from benzos can be dangerous and should not be done on your own.
- ADHD drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin, and other stimulants. Some people buy these drugs and use them in college without realizing how addictive they can be. People typically take them in pill form or snort them.
- Barbiturates, which are typically used for surgery, are also highly addictive. They are usually only prescribed for intense migraine pain or for surgery. Phenobarbital is one example of a drug in this class.
- Any other drug that changes the way a person thinks or feels has the potential for abuse and addiction.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a treatable and manageable disease. We’re here to help you reclaim your life in a compassionate, professional, healthy environment. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help at 619-363-4767.
Many people know that fentanyl is a growing problem in all corners of California as well as America. Unfortunately, however, a silent crisis is growing in San Diego County. The most sobering part is that the drugs are the kind that are legally available as well as sold on the street; prescription drugs. And overdoses related to prescription drug use, including opioids, in 2020 rose to 576 deaths. That’s nearly double the number of overdoses in 2019.
Who Are Most Vulnerable To Overdosing on Prescription Drugs?
According to the Prescription Drug Report Card, men are the most likely to die from an overdose. Out of the 576 overdoses last year, 430 victims were men, and 146 were women.
Prescription drug statistics included opioids, including fentanyl, which has contributed to the most overdose deaths in the nation in the past year.
Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths Are Preventable
Many institutions, including music or arts venues, now keep their supply of naloxone to help reverse overdoses. Naloxone can start working in a matter of minutes, and it’s available from harm reduction organizations and healthcare providers. People who use Medicare or Medi-Cal need a prescription from their doctor for it to be covered. However, some participating pharmacies offer it without a prescription.
The best way to prevent an overdose is to get clean and sober. Staying sober in the long term can help you live your best life. Addiction is a progressive disease, and few people have found recovery without a bit of help.
If you’re addicted to prescription drugs, help is available.
Symptoms of a Prescription Drug Addiction
If somebody you love may have a problem with drugs, you may wonder what the symptoms of a substance use disorder are.
Evidence of misusing prescriptions:
- Powder in bags or on mirrors or hard surfaces. Some people with substance use disorder crush pills and snort them. Some people smoke them or inject them. Needles, plastic bags with residue, and glass pipes with burn marks may be evidence of misusing prescriptions.
- A person “nods out” or is often groggy during the day, even when they get more than 8 hours of sleep. They may slur words or seem drunk if they are shaken awake.
- Hoarding pills from multiple doctors. Evidence of numerous bottles of pills that contain the same prescription.
- A considerable change in their lifestyle; they may avoid all of their family and friends. They may begin to have financial trouble, have trouble keeping a job, or simply seem to have ultimately decided to “opt-out” of their former lifestyle.
- They may try to stop using prescriptions or promise to stop using, only to start again a few days later. This may be due to physical withdrawal symptoms that make it incredibly challenging to get sober without help.
- They may have legal trouble, get DUI’s, or be arrested for forging prescriptions.
- They may steal or mismanage the family finances or have other secrets that alienate them from others.
Getting Help for Addiction in San Diego
If you or somebody you love has a problem with prescription drugs, we’re here to help. Getting sober can seem to be a huge task if you’re addicted to a substance. This is why getting help is important! We’re here to help you get started on the journey to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767.
Many people take prescription medications under the supervision of their doctors. However, some drugs that are prescribed have the potential for abuse. In addition, people who take these medications may not be aware of their addictive nature until it is too late. People with opioid use disorder, for example, often don’t realize the extent of their addiction until they try to stop using opioids and suffer severe withdrawal symptoms.
Legally obtained prescriptions are one of the most commonly abused drugs in America. While most drugs are meant to improve our quality of life or our health, some also have side effects that can cause misuse and lead to a substance use disorder.
What Prescription Drugs Are Addictive?
Any drug that can alter your state of mind, cause euphoria, or other pleasurable side effects can be addictive.
- Some of the most addictive prescription drugs are opioids (narcotics) such as Oxycontin or Vicoden. People addicted to opioids can suffer severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using after regular drug use.
- Barbiturates, also known as downers or sedatives, are also frequently abused. One drug in this category is phenobarbital, a powerful sedative.
- Benzodiazepines are prescription medications commonly used to quell anxiety or help a person relax their muscles. This drug class includes drugs like Klonopin or Valium that can cause a drowsy, calm, and sedate effect in their users. These feelings can be pleasurable, especially for people who have anxiety.
- People sometimes abuse sleep medications. For example, drugs like Ambien can cause side effects like sleepwalking or hallucinations when people take more of the drug than prescribed.
- Amphetamines like Adderall are often prescribed for people who have an ADHD diagnosis. The drugs are also sometimes used by people who want to lose weight or “cram” for classes in college. However, at higher doses, these drugs function as speed and can have dangerous withdrawal symptoms. They also can cause cardiac arrest.
Who Abuses Prescription Drugs?
People of all ages have the potential to abuse prescription medications.
When a drug is addictive, there is always a potential for misuse when a doctor prescribes it. For example, it’s common for a person using an opioid for pain relief to take an extra pill or take their next dose early to get more of a euphoric feeling.
Sometimes, though, a person who misuses prescription drugs may not have been prescribed them. For example, adolescents who experiment with drugs might take medication from their mother or grandfather’s pill bottle when they are not looking. This scenario is why it is so important to properly dispose of opioids and other prescription drugs if you’re not using them.
Symptoms of Prescription Drug Misuse
People who are abusing substances will often change their behavior. For example, they may be more secretive or less talkative. In addition, young people who are using drugs will sometimes change their friend circle. They may have trouble getting to work on time, have financial issues, or even get in trouble with the law.
If a person is misusing prescription drugs, they may also display the following behavior:
- Splitting pills or having multiple bottles of drugs in the room - usually from more than one doctor. Sometimes there will be evidence of tablets being crushed into powder and snorted.
- Doctor-shopping and getting multiple prescriptions for the same health issue.
- Looking unkempt or not caring about their appearance.
- Buying drugs or pills off the internet or seeing multiple internet doctors for the same problems.
- Refusing to talk about their health problems or prescription pill usage.
Each drug, however, has its own side effects. For example, a person who is misusing Adderall may stay up all night for days, while a person who is on opioids may appear to be sleeping all the time.
You can learn more about prescription drug abuse on this blog and recognize the symptoms of addiction. In addition, information on specific prescription drugs can help you learn about the signs of misuse and the dangers or side effects.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love need help with a substance use problem, we’re here to guide you. Learn more about our programs and how we can help you get on the road to recovery by calling us at 619-363-4767.
"Over the years this letter reminds from which I came. I relate this to my wife who is Alcoholic my kids that will try this someday. It has helped me be compassionate to them and myself as I travel this journey of recovery. I'm thankful I heard it at last nights meeting because this next two weeks are going to a bi***". Mark G.
I am an alcoholic. I need your help. (Open letter from an alcoholic)
Don't lecture, blame or scold me. You wouldn't be angry with me for having cancer or diabetes. Alcoholism is a disease, too. Don't pour out my liquor; it's just a waste because I can always find ways of getting more. Don't let me provoke your anger. If you attack me verbally or physically, you will only confirm my bad opinion abut myself. I hate myself enough already. Don't let your love and anxiety for me lead you into doing what I ought to do for myself. If you assume my responsibilities, you make my failure to assume them permanent. My sense of guilt will be increased, and you will feel resentful. Don't accept my promises. I'll promise anything to get off the hook. But the nature of my illness prevents me from keeping my promises, even though I mean them at the time. Don't make empty threats. Once you have made a decision, stick to it. Don't believe everything I tell you; it may be a lie. Denial of reality is a symptom of my illness. Moreover, I'm likely to lose respect for those I can fool too easily.
Don't let me take advantage of you or exploit you in any way. Love cannot exist for long without the dimension of justice. Don't cover up for me or try in any way to spare me the consequences of my drinking. Don't lie for me, pay my bills, or meet my obligations. It may avert or reduce the very crisis that would prompt me to seek help. I can continue to deny that I have a drinking problem as long as you provide an automatic escape for the consequences of my drinking.
Above all, do learn all you can about alcoholism and your role in relation to me. Go to open AA meetings when you can. Attend Al-Anon meetings regularly, read the literature and keep in touch with Al-Anon members. They're the people who can help you see the whole situation clearly.
Have a loved one with an alcohol or drug problem?
Let the support of Alanon be the guiding light to serenity and personal change. For meetings and more information visit Al-ANON in North County San Diego.
Are Interventions Effective way to get your family into Addiction Treatment?
About 95 percent of all addicts are in denial, so they’re unlikely to seek treatment completely on their own. They often don’t realize how destructive their habit is to themselves and to others. The primary aim of an intervention is to motivate them to enter treatment. If they manage to stay the course and even achieve long-term sobriety, then the intervention will have far exceeded expectations.
Many intervention strategies exist but these are the most common:
Formal intervention where family and friends, or co-workers, supported by trained interventionists, engage the addict on the destructive addiction behavior and present a treatment plan.
Forced court intervention where the addict is suicidal, has a serious mental disorder, or some other condition that’s self-harmful or dangerous to society. Kentucky and 37 other states have laws enabling parents to get adult children into drug centers via a court order.
Forced court intervention where the addict has committed a non-violent drug or alcohol-related offense, such as drunken driving. The addict avoids jail time by enrolling in a drug treatment program.
Do These Interventions Work?
Evidence suggests that family and concerned people’s interventions are extremely successful especially when professionals are involved. The success rate may be as much as 90 percent, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) says. Family and friends are important in helping addicts to admit to the destructive nature of their habit and to agree to treatment. But since emotions run high in relationships involving addiction, a trained interventionist should be on hand to guide the proceedings in an objective way so that the addict doesn’t feel ambushed.
A successful intervention involves careful planning by the intervention team. At the subsequent meeting with the addict, the destructive effects of his or her habit are carefully outlined, as are the consequences of refusing treatment, including being deprived of financial assistance or denied access to children. In the workplace, the worker, normally a key employee, may face the sack for refusing treatment. But the consequences are more effective when presented in a calm, compassionate way so the addict sees that it is for his or her own good. The stakes are also high for the intervention team. Family members want to preserve the family unit, while in the workplace, management wants to hold on to a valued employee.
The addict must decide on the spot whether to opt in or out of treatment. If the decision is positive, the addict is immediately checked into a prearranged addiction program which will likely provide counseling for the family, for all they’ve been through, and to make them effective in the recovery process.
Coercive interventions through the courts are extremely successful too, despite the force used. An estimated 60 percent of people enter rehab this way and there’s evidence of lowering crime and substance use among this group. In one study, only 29 percent were found to have subsequently failed drug tests compared to 46 percent of non-treated offenders while 52 percent were deemed less likely to be arrested compared to 62 percent of their non-treated counterparts. A 2005 study found coerced and non-coerced methamphetamine addicts to have similar treatment results and similar post-treatment sobriety levels, while another study found coerced addicts to have achieved even better treatment results than their non-coerced counterparts.[1, 4] The reason for this is not entirely clear. Perhaps it’s because of the constant threat of legal action they face, or because they gradually become aware of the merits of staying clean.
Elements of an Unsuccessful Intervention
Interventions are hard work. They may need constant revision before the right formula is achieved. Here are some reasons why an intervention may fail:
Family or friends intervene only when there’s a crisis so the action is a quick-fix and unplanned, so the addict doesn’t buy into it.
A professional interventionist is not involved in family or friendly interventions, so there’s little impartiality or clear direction.
Family and friends don’t seek an immediate commitment to treatment. So the addict is able to build a wall of resistance to treatment.
The consequences for refusing treatment are not presented empathetically, but in a threatening way which only serves to scare off the addict.
Once scared off, family members fail to follow through with the agreed consequences of refusal thus enabling the addict to keep abusing drugs or alcohol.
Family and friends show a lack of interest in court-ordered processes.
Interventions clearly work best when family and support personnel are included, even when they don’t initiate them. Court ordered admissions to treatment programs may be the only resort when all else has failed but tremendous success has been achieved here too. That’s why by mid-2012, over 2000 drug courts were already operational in the United States.
Present Moments detox and drug rehab center is the premier provider of comfortable and safe Addiction treatment in San Diego. Call us and get help today.
Obama prepares to address the epidemic of addiction, specifically heroin and overdoses that can be prevented and supported through non emergency lay responders and education, not to mention naloxone and narcon. We commend the presidency for doing more than speaking about the issue and supporting states that are having progress and evidence based results.