Prescription Abuse, Pills, Painkillers, Narcotic Abuse, and Addiction Treatment
Your friend was messing around with his nephew’s skateboard. It wasn’t going to end well — you guys aren’t in your early 20s anymore, after all — and he predictably took a spill when he ran into a curb. He ended up breaking his wrist pretty badly. The doctor gave him a script for some Vicodin to help with the pain. When he filled the prescription, he got a bunch of pills, but only ended up using a couple. They made him nauseous, so he switched to extra-strength Advil.
A couple of weeks later, you mentioned you were having trouble sleeping. Your friend offered you the rest of his Vicodin — he wasn’t using it, and he’d heard it could help with that kind of thing. So you took it. And you realized it did more than just help you sleep; it made you feel happier and less stressed out. You took two on a Saturday morning just for fun, and enjoyed the pleasant drowsiness while you watched your favorite movies all day.
When you ran out of the Vicodin, you started getting headaches. Your insomnia came back, and it was worse than before. You asked your friend if he had any refills; then, when those ran out, you went to your own doctor and claimed you’d been having some serious back pain. Before you even realized it, you needed painkillers to get through the day, and you were willing to lie to your physician to get what you wanted.
Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit “street” drugs. In many cases, they can be even more dangerous because they are more potent and — at first — are more easily accessible. Pain pill addiction — often called opioid addiction — isn’t the only type of addiction to prescription drugs, either. Anxiety medications and amphetamines for ADD/ADHD are addictive, too. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most commonly misused prescription drugs are:
- Fentanyl (Duragesic®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®, Lorcet®, Lortab®)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®, Percodan®)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon®)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
- Meperidine (Demerol®)
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil®)
- Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
- Diazepam (Valium®)
- Alprazolam (Xanax®)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin®, Concerta®)
- Amphetamines (Ritalin®)
If you or someone close to you is prescribed any of these drugs, you need to be very careful to take them as directed. As soon as any signs of misuse appear, you should talk to a doctor; dependence on these drugs can arise very quickly, and withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. It’s easy to become trapped in a cycle of addiction to prescription drugs, but professional treatment can help break the cycle and give you another chance at life.