Few individuals would even consider the idea that a medical doctor would ever recommend something that could potentially damage their health, and therefore most individuals may follow their doctor’s recommendations blindly. Since prescription medications are FDA approved and doctor recommended, many individuals consider these substances to be harmless and safe to use. Prescription medications are designed to treat a wide variety of medical conditions ranging anywhere from depression to chronic and severe physical pain. Even in cases where the individual has not been prescribed medications for a specific condition, they often feel it is safe to use these substances in order to address some undesirable condition in their life. What they fail to consider is that prescription medications are drug substances, and therefore come with dangerous and destructive side effects.
Whether legal, illegal, prescription, over-the-counter or other, all drugs are chemical substances that interfere with the normal functions of the human body. None of these substances can actually handle the problems for which they are taken, not even prescription drugs taken for specific medical conditions. What drug substances do is suppress undesirable sensations and stimulate desirable sensations, thereby giving the individual temporary relief from their problems. For example, prescription painkillers do not handle the physical source of pain, but they suppress the body’s ability to communicate this pain.
Since prescription drugs cannot solve the problems for which they are taken and they are chemical substances that can harm the body systems and organs, they can cause a host of new problems for the individual that far outweigh the original problem they were trying to suppress. Few individuals take the time to try and address the root problem that led them to take prescription drugs in the first place, which means that they are then trapped in prescription drug use in order to continue suppressing the problem. Eventually, the human body grows to tolerate drug substances and the individual no longer experiences the same desirable effects they once did. Most individuals solve this new problem by taking even more of their prescription drugs, or by switching to more potent drug substances.
At some point in the process of using prescription drugs, the individual’s body grows to depend upon these substances. The constant interruption and alteration of its normal functions has caused the body to create a new normal that includes the continued use of these drug substances, and the individual no longer has any control over their drug use. Powerful cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms force the individual to keep a certain quantity of prescription drug substances in their body at all times, and despite the many destructive consequences of continued drug use. An individual who is suffering from prescription drug dependence and addiction will often do just about anything to get their next fix, even if it means stealing from, lying to or deceiving others. Drug substances have so destroyed their health and well-being that their “normal” condition is something they absolutely cannot face. The individual may no longer experience any pleasure as a result of their drug use, they simply feel that there is no way to live without prescription drugs since these drugs help to suppress the extreme discomfort their body now constantly experiences.
Prescription Drug Addiction Problems in America
Americans may only comprise five percent of the world’s total population, but they consume approximately seventy-five percent of the world’s total prescription drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug related deaths now outnumber the deaths caused by both cocaine and heroin use combined. Part of the reason for this shocking statistic may be the fact that few individuals consider prescription drugs to be even remotely dangerous, seeing as how they are FDA approved for medical use and prescribed by medical doctors to treat certain conditions.
The belief that prescription drugs are entirely safe for use may be responsible for leading many individuals down the road to prescription drug abuse and addiction even when they haven’t received a medical recommendation for these drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in 2011 more than fifty-two million Americans reported the non-medical use of prescription drugs at least once in their life, and more than six million Americans reported the non-medical use of prescription drugs in the month prior to the survey. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that five million individuals admitted to using prescription painkillers non-medically, over two million individuals admitted to using prescription tranquilizers non-medically, and over one million individuals admitted to using prescription stimulants non-medically. Additionally, a 2011 report indicates that over two hundred thirty-eight million opiate painkiller prescriptions had been written during that year alone. That is enough prescriptions to medicate every single American adult six times a day for an entire month straight. These are some of the most dangerous and addictive prescription drugs currently available, and yet the pharmaceutical companies continue to widely promote their use for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, and medical doctors continue to prescribe them freely.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse further reported that .3% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs off the internet, 1.9% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs from more than one doctor, 3.9% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs from a drug dealer or stranger, 16.6% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs from a friend or relative by purchasing or simply taking them from that friend or relative, 18.1% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs from a single doctor, 54.2% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs for free from a friend or relative, and 2.2% of individuals stated they obtained prescription drugs in some other way.
Teenagers who were abusing prescription drugs stated the following reasons for doing so:
- They are easy to get from household medicine cabinets
- They are available everywhere
- They are not illegal drugs
- They are easy to get through others’ prescriptions
- They can be justified as prescribed if discovered
- They are inexpensive
- They are safer than illegal drugs
- They don’t cause shame like illegal drugs do
- They are obtainable over the internet
- They have less side effects than street drugs
- They can be used as study aids
- They don’t cause parents to be as upset about their use
Solving Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug addiction problems are successfully and fully resolved through professional rehabilitation treatment services. Whatever the individual’s reason for turning to prescription drug use in the first place, whether they began using these drugs for medical or non-medical reasons and with or without a doctor’s prescription, they will need to take the time to address and resolve all the causes and effects of their drug use in order to break their connection with these drugs and establish the firm foundation necessary for a healthy, productive future. It can happen that an individual who is suffering from prescription drug addiction problems is very confused, never having thought that medically approved and recommended drugs could be so destructive to their health, relationships and life. Such an individual can benefit greatly from gaining a basic education about drug substances and how they work to produce their effects.
It is true that just like other drug addiction problems, prescription drug addiction can be very destructive and difficult to address and handle. The important thing to remember is that these problems can be fully and effectively handled, allowing the individual to move forward into a happier future.