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Prescription Drug Abuse

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Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in today's society. Many people who are prescribed medications for legitimate medical conditions become addicted to the drugs, and some even turn to illegal means to obtain them. Prescription drug addiction can have serious consequences and can even be deadly. Here's what you need to know about the dangers of prescription drug addiction, including signs and symptoms, overdose, and treatment options.

Stats: According to the CDC, 13,722 people died from a prescription drug related overdose and 13,503 died in 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2022/202205.htm

According to the California Behavioral Health Barometer, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 4.9% of Californians aged 12 or older had misused prescription drugs in the past month in 2020. (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). 2020 California Behavioral Health Barometer.)

Dangers of prescription drug addiction

One of the biggest dangers of prescription drug addiction is the risk of overdose. When people become addicted to prescription drugs, they often take higher doses than they are supposed to or combine drugs in dangerous ways. This can lead to respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening. Other dangers of prescription drug addiction include:

  • Physical dependence: Over time, people can become physically dependent on prescription drugs, meaning that they need the drug to function normally.

  • Withdrawal: When people stop taking prescription drugs, they can experience withdrawal symptoms that can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous.

  • Impaired judgment: Prescription drug addiction can impair judgment and decision-making, which can lead to dangerous situations.

  • Financial problems: Prescription drug addiction can be expensive, and people may turn to illegal means to obtain the drugs they need, leading to financial problems and legal troubles.

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with prescription drug addiction, there are a number of signs and symptoms to look out for. These include:

  • Changes in behavior or mood

  • Neglecting responsibilities or relationships

  • Continuing to use prescription drugs even after the medical condition has resolved

  • Taking higher doses of prescription drugs than prescribed

  • Combining prescription drugs with other substances, such as alcohol

  • Stealing or lying to obtain prescription drugs

  • Social withdrawal or isolation

  • Changes in physical appearance or hygiene

Treatment for prescription drug addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription drug addiction, it's important to seek professional help. Treatment options may include:

  • Detoxification: This involves gradually reducing the dose of the drug until the body is no longer dependent on it.

  • Medication-assisted treatment: This involves using medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

  • Behavioral therapy: This includes counseling and other forms of therapy to help individuals overcome addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

  • Support groups: These can provide ongoing support and encouragement during the recovery process.

Prescription drug addiction can have serious consequences and should be taken seriously. If you suspect that someone is struggling with prescription drug addiction, it's important to seek help right away. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to overcome addiction and regain control of your life.

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