Prescription drug abuse, drug addiction
Prescription drug abuse or drug addiction is not something that anyone wants to have. What causes prescription drug abuse though, and why do some people experience this problem while others seem almost immune to prescription drug addiction? There are social and genetic factors involved in addiction, and some people are more vulnerable or predisposed to substance abuse than others. There is no way to pinpoint who is at the highest risk for abuse and addiction when it comes to prescription drugs or even street drugs, and engaging in substance abuse is like playing Russian roulette. A family history of substance abuse can mean a higher risk for prescription drug abuse but this may not always be the case. Peer pressure and social issues also play a role in the abuse of any type of substance.
In many cases prescription drug abuse or drug addiction starts out with legitimate medications. The individual may need pain medications like Vicodin or codeine because they have been injured, had dental work performed, or undergone a medical procedure that makes prescription pain medication necessary. Over time prescription drug abuse occurs because the individual has developed a tolerance for the drug so more is needed to achieve the same effect. Eventually the user is taken off the prescription pain medication but the addiction continues, and the user starts to look for the drug on the street. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem and treatment should be sought immediately if you or someone you care about has this problem.
prescription drug abuse, prescription pain medication
The United States Food and Drug Administration, or USFDA, recently announced changes in the labeling requirements for long term prescription pain medications. These drugs are responsible for much of the increase in prescription drug abuse in North America. The changes are due to take effect at the end of 2014, and the new label requirements are designed to make physicians think carefully before prescribing a long acting opiate medication. Oxycontin, morphine, and Fentanyl are some of the drugs that will be affected by the new labeling requirements. Along with the labeling changes the government agency is also requiring the drug manufacturers to conduct studies on the long term effects of long acting prescription drugs. Until no there have not been any studies to show the long term effects of being on these prescription medications.
Safe prescribing practices have not been established with long acting prescription painkillers because there is a lack of data on the long term effects. The new labels will have modified language to help physicians determine when these drugs are required and lower the risk of prescription drug abuse. According to Dr. Douglas Throckmorton of the F.D.A.’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research “What is moderate to me could be severe to you. The new language will say that the drugs should be reserved for use in patients who do not have other treatment options, and be used for management of pain that is “severe enough” to require round-the-clock treatment.” Hopefully the changes will reduce prescription drug abuse in North America.
1. Myth: A doctor prescribed the medication so the prescription drug must be safe.
Fact: Just because prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor this does not make them safe to use for everyone. The drug is prescribed for a specific person and a specific medical condition, and it may affect others differently.
2. Myth: Prescription drug abuse starts on the street.
Fact: In many cases prescription drug abuse starts at home, not on the street. Children learn from parents, and if there are prescription medications taken by someone in the home then the child can usually access these drugs very easily. Many times prescription drug abuse starts at home, not on the streets.
3. Myth: It is okay to drink alcohol while taking prescription medication.
Fact: Anyone who is taking prescription medication for a medical problem, or those who take these drugs for recreational purposes, should avoid using alcohol and other substances at the same time. In many cases alcohol or other substances can intensify the effects of a drug and lead to dangerous or even deadly situations.
4. Myth: You can not abuse a drug that has been prescribed for you.
Fact: This myth is dangerous. Any time a prescription medication is taken by someone other than the person the drug was prescribed for this is abuse, but the individual who has a legitimate use for the drug can also abuse their prescription. If the drug is taken more frequently than prescribed or in larger amounts this is a form of abuse, even though it is your prescription medication.