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Union Prescription Drug Abuse

While the use of illegal drugs is known to be a problem for many, the prevalence of prescription drug abuse is not as commonly known. However, prescription drug abuse is one of the most common and costly substance abuse problems in the country. In fact, according to the CDC, more drug-related deaths are due to the abuse of prescription drugs each year than the use of other illegal substances.

Treatment is needed to prevent permanent health issues or death by accidental overdose. Call Union Drug Rehab at (908) 329-2286 for help today.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription medication abuse occurs when someone takes a prescription that was not prescribed to them. Many prescription medications are highly addictive, and their use can lead to serious addiction without the supervision of a medical professional.

Often users of street drugs get started with prescription drug abuse, and move on to harder substances as their tolerance grows, or when prescription drugs become too hard to find (their prescription or their supplier’s prescription runs out, for example). This epidemic is part of what fuels the street drug trade.

Commonly Abused Prescriptions

There are three types of commonly abused prescriptions: opioids, stimulants, and depressants.

Opium and heroin are illegal opioids, but some prescription opioids include painkillers like Morphine, Codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Fentanyl.

Stimulants include ADHD medication like Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta, and are often taken by college students in an effort to focus in school or perform well on an exam.

Central nervous system (CNS) Depressants are usually used to treat anxiety or promote sleep and include Xanax, Valium, Amytal, and Zyprexa.  Antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Cymbalta, Prozac, and Lexipro, are also commonly abused.

Prescription medicines are categorized into five classes, or “Schedules”. Schedule V drugs are only mildly addictive, like the medication found in some cough syrups or pain relievers. As the addictiveness of the drug goes up, so does the Schedule.

Schedule II drugs are among the most addictive, but they have medicinal uses that make them legal when prescribed by a qualified doctor. Schedule I drugs tend to be highly addictive, have no medical purposes, and are illegal.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription pill abuse often leads to addiction, but the signs of abuse and addiction are similar. Someone who abuses prescription medication may show some or all of the following signs:

  • Poor performance in school or at work
  • Irritability / Sudden anger
  • Intense mood swings
  • Changes in weight
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available

Withdrawal symptoms from prescription medications can vary greatly depending on the drug, but some of the most common to look out for include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to sleep
  • Elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and rapid breathing

Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Addiction

As with an addiction to illegal substances or alcohol, prescription medicine abuse and addiction can be treated with detox and help from an addiction professional. Group therapy, such as the programs used in Narcotics Anonymous, can be especially beneficial for maintaining a drug-free lifestyle after detox.

Some addicts respond better to one-on-one counseling. There are also medications that can make detox easier, such as suboxone, methadone, or naltrexone for opioids, and drugs that can reduce cravings, such as bupropion or Chantix.

Outpatient and inpatient treatments are available for prescription drug addictions. Although prescription medicines are legal when used for medical purposes, the abuse of these medications is just as dangerous as street drug abuse, and needs to be treated.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is addicted to a prescription drug, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There is a treatment available. Call Union Drug Rehab today at (908) 329-2286 for immediate assistance.

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