Prescriptions drugs meant to treat a variety of conditions are abused every day throughout the country. Whether it’s painkillers, depressants, stimulants or steroids, they all have the capacity to make anyone very ill. Prescription drug abuse hotlines are there for those struggling to reach out and work on a plan to deal with such addictions.
Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in the United States, with 7 million people having used psychotherapeutic drugs non-medically in 2010. This is 2.7 percent of the US population. The most common drugs that are abused are:
- Pain relievers at 5.1 million users
- Tranquilizers at 2.2 million
- Stimulants with 1.1 million
- Sedatives at 0.4 million
The age of the drug addict greatly influences what they are likely to take. One in 12 high school seniors reported using Vicodin non-medically, and one in 20 reported using OxyContin without a prescription. When they were asked how these were obtained, 70 percent of 12th graders reported having gotten them from a friend or relative. Prescription drug abuse hotlines are available 24/7 to help in the treatment of this pressing problem.
Did You Know?
Why Are Prescription Drugs Abused?
Prescription drugs are often abused because of:
- Misperceptions about their safety. Just because they are used in a controlled medical setting doesn’t make them safe for every day use.
- Increased availability. Prescriptions for stimulants have increased from 5 million to almost 45 million between 1991 and 2010. For opioids and analgesics, those numbers passed from 75.5 million to 209.5 million. That’s a 277-percent increase in a 19-year period.
- Different motivations for their abuse. People use prescription drugs non-medically for a variety of reasons, such as to get high, to counter anxiety, pain or sleep problems, or to enhance cognition (for example, a student taking drugs to better remember material for an exam or to study better).
Did You Know?
In 2009, an average of 6,027 people per day abused prescription painkillers for the first time. The number of people who initiated drug use with prescription drugs is higher than the number who started with the use of marijuana.
Complications of Prescription Drug Use
Prescription drug abuse help lines have helped many manage their addiction and find the correct treatment program. Drugs can cause severe complications that can alter a prescription drug user’s life forever.
- Opioid painkillers and other painkillers are known to cause an increased risk of choking, the loss of menstrual periods and fertility, a slowed breathing rate and potential for breathing to stop. Other effects include lack of energy, inability to concentrate, apathy, nausea and vomiting.
- Depressants, often prescribed to treat a wide range of health conditions but most commonly used for anxiety, panic attacks, tension, serious stress reactions and sleep disorders, have been know to cause memory problems and abnormal body temperatures. Other health risks include loss of coordination, respiratory depression, dizziness due to lowered blood pressure, slurring of speech, poor concentration and feeling confused. An overdose can cause coma or death.
- Stimulants, usually used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, can cause seizures, tremors and hallucinations and carry an increased risk of stroke. Other risks related to stimulant abuse are increased heart and respiratory rates, sweating excessively, tremors, vomiting, anxiety, hostility and aggression and in particularly severe cases, suicidal and homicidal tendencies as well as convulsions and cardiovascular collapse.
- Steroids are used in a medical setting to treat those with testosterone levels below the norm or those with symptoms of body wasting, like cancer patients. Their abuse is most often related to the desire to improve physical appearance, like wanting to build muscle or change body shape. Common health complications can include liver cysts, liver cancer, kidney cancer, severe acne, hair loss and jaundice.
When the desire to change is there, one of the first steps can be contacting a prescription drug abuse hotline. The help and support of family members and friends have been proven to be very positive factors to successful recovery. If you’d like to discuss your options or know of a friend or family member currently struggling with prescription drug abuse, call us on 1-888-287-0471 Who Answers? to speak with trained professionals about possible solutions and treatment plans best suited to your particular situation.
Signs of a Problem
If any of the following signs of addiction are familiar to you, seeking advice from a prescription drug abuse hotline might be a good option. Have you ever:
- Felt the need to cut down on your use of prescription medication?
- Felt annoyed by remarks from your friends or loved ones about your use of prescription drugs?
- Felt guilty or remorseful about your use of drugs?
- Used prescription drugs as a way to get a kick start, get more energy or to calm down?
- Consumed more drugs than prescribed?
- Gone from doctor to doctor in search of prescriptions?
- Lied about your prescription drug use?
When choosing to call a prescription drug abuse hotline, being prepared to answer honestly about the extent of the problem, what issues it is causing, and how serious you or the addict is about getting help are crucial. Being open and upfront about treatment goals and asking lots of questions will help you make the best decision possible.