Prescription drug abuse is not as rare as many might think. In fact, 23.5 million Americans are currently addicted to drugs or alcohol and only a mere fraction of these people get the addiction treatment that they need.
Often times, the problem starts out innocently enough. There are cases of mothers who start taking painkillers because they hurt themselves on a normal task or young kids that start taking prescribed medicines to improve memory and focusing capabilities. However, without even realizing it, they can become hooked on these substances. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), nearly 80% of heroin users started with prescription pain pills like Percocet or Vicoden. But this only happens to a percentage of people. Others simply take the prescribed medications for the time they need to and they never develop the addiction.
How Does Prescription Drug Abuse Start?
There are some factors that usually contribute to your predisposition of becoming drug and alcohol addicted:
* If you were in a situation where you had to take some prescribed medicines because of your health and, at some point, and even though you don’t need them anymore, you just can’t stop taking them. And you’ll do everything you can to access them. Either by going to different doctors so you can get a prescription, for example, to start stealing these medications from your friends and family’s homes, until a point where you have no other place to go. And since your body still needs the substance, you may also be susceptible to move on to other drugs like cocaine or heroin, for example.
* According to the medical director at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Howard Forman, MD, you’ll be more susceptible to become addicted if you have family members who also have addiction problems.
* When you go through a trauma in your childhood and you don’t get the necessary treatment, you are more likely to become drug and alcohol addicted. The traumas can be related to a family member loss, sexual or physical abuse, or violence.
* If you suffer from a mental health disorder, your odds are also increased. Even a simple anxiety or depression problem where you are prescribed with Oxycodone may lead you to become easily addicted. You start feeling well and you don’t want to lose this sensation. So, you just keep taking it even though you might not need it anymore.
Another one of the main problems that make the prescription drug abuse to keep increasing is the fact that everyone can easily access it. And the result is that prescription drug abuse overdoses rates are already more than illegal drug overdoses.
Just between 1998 and 2008, the number of people admitted for drug addiction treatment for narcotic painkiller addiction increased 400%. No group is immune: the increase in prescription drug abuse includes men and women of every educational level, race, employed or unemployed, and geographic region.