All types of addiction can be hugely problematic, especially when they become a mainstream issue for society. People usually associate addiction with alcohol or hard drugs, but prescription medication can be just as addictive. Reports suggest that the problem of painkiller addiction has reached the level of an epidemic in the United States.
People taking prescription painkillers has tripled over the past twenty years, while fatal or near fatal overdoses are at their highest levels ever. More people fatally overdose from painkillers than cocaine and heroin put together, according to the CDC.
An Epidemic of Painkiller Addiction is Spreading
A British medical journal, called The Lancet, published a report in 2013 about the impact of illicit drugs on world populations. Their stories about painkillers were staggering. The Lancet said that addictions to heroin, Vicodin, and OxyContin were the three biggest drug problems in the world. Figures for those three drug addictions are higher than cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, and alcohol.
Painkiller addiction is especially prevalent in affluent countries such as the United States. People who have high median incomes are more likely to become addicted to Vicodin or OxyContin as opposed to less wealthy individuals.
As an example, the year 2010 saw doctors prescribe enough painkillers for every American to use 24/7 for a month. Not only are more people becoming addicted to these painkillers, but doctors are over prescribing at an alarming rate.
There is an organization in the United States called the Physicians for Responsible Prescriptions. Their president, Dr. Kolodny, had this to say on the issue of over prescribing: “Painkillers are fast becoming the worst drug related epidemic in United States history. Doctors have become increasingly liberal with their prescription of painkillers for the past 20 years, and this has directly caused more addictions and fatal overdoses among patients.”
He believes it is possible for this situation to be overturned. However, it requires serious inquiries and discretion from doctors. They need to start carefully prescribing painkillers. For example, someone who twists their ankle should not get the same prescription as a patient who got shot in the arm.
How To Overcome Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction has similar symptoms and consequences as addiction to alcohol or recreational drugs, but the circumstances are often very different. Painkiller addicts may be people who are living healthy lives. They go to work, come home, take care of their kids, and enjoy a night out with friends and family. However, an accident, long term injury, or other circumstance may have lead to them taking painkillers on a regular basis.
Sometimes people take painkillers for a month without even realizing they are doing anything wrong. After all, these painkillers were prescribed by a doctor and help them get through the day. However, someone taking painkillers for an extended period is likely to become addicted. Their body will not feel normal until they take the painkiller once or twice a day.
It is often up to loved ones or friends to identify when someone has passed the point of needing the painkillers. If they have completely recovered from surgery or their injury, but are still popping pills regularly, they are likely addicted.
Withdrawal from OxyContin and Vicodin is very similar to withdrawing from alcohol or other drugs. The individual will become moody, anxious and restless until they get their fix. Seeking professional help is the best way to overcome a painkiller addiction.
Professional Rehab Treatment
Addiction to painkillers is a serious matter. Sometimes it does not receive the same kind of response from friends and family as alcohol or recreational drug addiction, but it can be just as dangerous. Someone who is addicted to painkillers needs to seek help immediately. The longer they wait, the harder it will be to get off these dangerous drugs.
Professional rehab facilities can provide patients with the environment, assistance, and support they need to overcome their addiction. The epidemic of painkiller addiction can be addressed by making treatment available for everyone who needs this type of care. You can get more information about professional detox and rehab by calling our toll-free number today.