Prescription drug addiction is becoming a major problem of many countries throughout the world. The problem can be so severe that sometimes people using prescription drugs may even end up dead because they have taken more drug than they are suppose to. Also, it is a common scenario that a person uses multiple prescription drugs at the same time and develop addiction.
It is estimated that prescription drug abuse may soon surpass smoking as one of huge problems in America. The reason is perhaps the availability of drugs that are sold via internet. Most of prescription drugs are anti-anxiety medications and pain killers.
The People Affected
It is reported that at least 50 million of Americans are using at least one psychotherapeutic drug such as tranquilizer, sedative, pain killer or stimulant. Furthermore, around 7 million of Americans older than 12 years of age are taking the previously mentioned drugs for non-medical purposes.
Data associated with prescription drug abuse are not sufficient enough to reveal how this type of addiction can be harmful. In spite of strict law regulations regarding prescribing certain drugs, these are still available and somehow purchased even if the doctor choose not to provide with a prescription any more. So by careful triage and selecting patients who will actually benefit from such drugs and who are not addiction-prone, doctors may be able to reduce the number of new cases of this type of addiction.
Availability of Prescription Drugs
Apart from being obtained from their doctors, today patients may purchase the drug they have developed addiction to from other sources. For instance, there are multiple doctor shopping, forged prescriptions, purchase via illegal online pharmacies and sometimes these individuals even steal medications from hospitals, residents or pharmacies. Furthermore, it is also possible for an addict to obtain prescription from family or friends and get in contact with unscrupulous physicians who sell drugs. Over-prescribing is another way but it has been limited.
The Most Common Addictions
Opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants as well as non-opioid pain killers are the most common drugs patients eventually develop addiction to. Barbiturates, Valium and Xanax are members of central nervous system relaxants. As far as non-opioid painkillers are concerned, the most commonly reported addiction is associated with intake of Vicodin, oxycodone, Oxycontin and Lortab. Finally, Ritalin and Phentermine belong to CNS stimulants and are also commonly abused.
Even though it is not possible in all cases, doctors who prescribe medications must pay close attention to their patients and discontinue medications timely in order to prevent addiction from developing.