If a person is abusing addictive prescription drugs, they may be thinking that the medicine is safer or less addictive than using street drugs. After all, the drugs were prescribed by a doctor, so the person abusing the drugs might think their use is okay. But prescription drugs aren’t safe, even if they’re prescribed to someone.
Why Prescription Drugs Aren’t Always Safe
Prescription drugs aren’t safe when they’re abused. In fact, many of these drugs are so powerful that it’s easy to overdose on them. Addiction to prescription drugs can happen even when taken correctly because they’re particularly powerful forms of certain narcotics. Prescription opioid overdose deaths have gone up 400 percent since 1999 — a clear indication these powerful drugs are not safe. Prescription drug addiction is very serious and the deaths that have occurred have outpaced both cocaine and heroin deaths since 2002. In fact, more than half the overdose deaths every year are due to prescription drugs.
How Do People Get Addicted to Prescription Drugs?
When talking about prescription drug addiction, one thinks about the few celebrity doctors in the news who pass out drugs like candy. While these bad doctors do exist, a more common method of getting drugs is raiding a relative’s medicine cabinet or being given the drugs by the relative, themselves. Occasionally, someone may get prescription drugs on the street due to theft or even from drug cartels manufacturing those drugs. These drugs can be tainted or mixed with other ingredients that can be dangerous, or even deadly to the abusers.
These drugs are very addictive even when taken as prescribed. They become even more addictive when crushed, snorted, injected, or mixed with other drugs. They can have serious reactions when mixed with other drugs, intensifying certain effects, and even causing life-threatening conditions. In many cases, if the addict is taking these drugs looking for a high, the first dose could make them hooked, especially if they take more than the amount originally intended for use.
Signs of Addiction to Prescription Drugs
Addiction is very real when it comes to prescription drugs. If someone is addicted to prescription drugs, they may show the following symptoms of being addicted:
- Thinking about when they’ll get their next hit.
- Taking drugs not prescribed to them.
- Mixing drugs with other drugs to get an intense high.
- Lying about their drug use.
- Requiring more drugs to achieve the desired effect.
- Getting into arguments with loved ones over their drug use.
- Having overdosed on drugs.
- Trying other methods of use of the drugs to achieve the desired effect.
- Failing drug tests or testing positive on drug tests without having a prescription for the medication.
- Stealing other people’s drugs to get high.
- Never having enough money because they’re spending it to get high.
These are not the only symptoms of drug addiction, but if a person shows any of the above signs, chances are they have a very serious addiction.
What Should Someone Do If They’re Addicted?
The first step for any addict is to admit that they have a problem. Once they know that they are addicted, they can then seek help to fight their addiction and finally kick the habit. The addict should never try to get clean by themselves because, in some circumstances, the withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous without the proper medical support. Instead, they will need to safely detox with a program that will not only provide a safe detox but also a relatively comfortable one.
Once the addict has detoxed, they can then work on combating their actual addiction. They have removed their body’s dependency on the substance but have not removed their addiction. A non 12 step program can help the addict learn what caused the addiction in the first place and can work toward getting the addict completely free of the drugs they crave.