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Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Since 1999, the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, as did deaths from drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.1 Although these painkillers are the number one culprit fueling the alarming prescription drug abuse epidemic, Xanax has seen the second largest pharmaceutical increase in production after oxycodone, with rates increasing 148% from 2004 to 2009. An entirely different class of drugs, alprazolam (the active ingredient in Xanax) is among the most potent and addictive of all benzodiazepines, and therefore more subject to abuse.2 Benzodiazepines act on the brain and central nervous system by producing a calming or tranquilizing effect.3 Stimulants like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall) are prescribed primarily to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These are frequently abused by high school and college students to increase mental performance. Over-the-counter drug abuse most commonly involves cough and cold remedies containing codeine or dextromethorphan.4 Other abused prescription drugs include barbiturates, the sleep medication Ambien and anabolic steroids.

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment

Treatment for prescription drug addiction varies based on several factors including the substance abused, frequency and duration of use/abuse, co-occurring drug or alcohol use and comorbidities such as mental health disorders or physical conditions. Clients who undergo prescription drug rehab at The Right Step will benefit from medical detox as well as a wide range of therapies. During drug detox, our medical team monitors you around the clock and eases any withdrawal symptoms with research-backed medications.  After detox, we’ll help you address underlying issues that led to drug abuse and make positive changes in your life that help support long-term recovery. You’ll engage in individual and group therapy and family therapy as clinically appropriate, as well as evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. We’ll also integrate alternative approaches into your treatment plan like mindfulness, art therapy, music therapy and fitness.  You’ll learn how to live a rewarding life, free of addictive drugs and destructive behaviors.

If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, we can help. Call us to learn about our programs and get a free insurance benefits check. 844-877-1781

Prescription Drug Addiction

Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs have the potential to be addictive. Among the most addictive prescription drugs are: Vicodin, OxyContin, Demerol, Percocet, Darvocet, Ritalin and amphetamines. Percocet addiction is particularly notorious. People   may abuse it for its euphoric effects rather than use it sparingly as a short-term painkiller. Percocet can cause heart problems or heart failure if taken excessively for a long duration.5

Painkiller Addiction in Older Adults

It’s well known that younger people sometimes intentionally abuse opioid painkillers, but this deadly epidemic is also impacting older adults, often silently. Older adults with chronic pain are frequently prescribed opioids without adequate medication management. It is common for seniors to take several medications, increasing the risk of harmful drug interactions. For example, an opioid may interact with some sleep medications, increasing the risk of sedation and respiratory depression. Signs of painkiller addiction are often missed by physicians. A caregiver or family member may be the first to detect addiction-related changes such as increased anxiety and depression, confusion, disoriented behavior, injuries or falls.6

Stats and Facts

  • Recent research indicates that 99% of U.S. physicians who prescribe narcotic painkillers give patients prescriptions that exceed the federally recommended three-day dosage limit.7
  • Use of illicit drugs has decreased in youth, however, cough syrup addiction is still a serious problem. According to 2015 data, cough syrup was among the top five prescription/OTC drugs used recreationally by 12th graders in the last year. The top five were: amphetamines (7.7%), Adderall (7.5%), opioids other than heroin (5.4%), tranquilizers (4.7%) and cough medicine (4.6%).8
  • An estimated 25% of older adults use prescription psychoactive medications that have a potential to be misused and abused.9
  • U.S. emergency departments saw a 78% increase in visits by older adults associated with misuse of prescription or illicit drugs between 2006 and 2012. Of 71,000 visits, 53% were in people ages 65 to 74.6
  • Opioids are responsible for claiming more than 190,000 lives in the U.S. since 1999, with most experts blaming OxyContin for setting off the nation’s deadly prescription opioid epidemic.10

Relapse Prevention

To help ease withdrawal symptoms that can lead some people back to their drug of choice, detox typically involves  gradually weaning users off opioid painkillers and other addictive prescription drugs. For people with chronic pain, treatments such as acupuncture, medical massage, water/pool therapy and yoga can reduce pain.6 Exercise and other forms of therapy are also helpful for people in recovery for prescription drug abuse. Long-term management by a team of multidisciplinary providers is key to preventing relapse.

At The Right Step, relapse prevention is an important component of treatment. After medical detox, we’ll help you address the issues that led to drug abuse so that you don’t feel as propelled to cope with these challenges by using drugs. We’ll also teach you healthy coping skills you can use in everyday life to combat triggers. With a robust alumni program, aftercare planning and a 12-month continuing care plan offered at many of our locations, you’ll have plenty of support in early recovery.

  1. Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit record numbers in 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/ Updated June 21, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  2. 20 Profound Xanax Addiction Statistics. Health Research Funding website. http://healthresearchfunding.org/20-profound-xanax-addiction-statistics/ Published February 1, 2015. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  3. Xanax: Side Effects, Drug Information. Medical News Today website. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263490.php Updated February 4, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  4. What is Prescription Drug Abuse? National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/prescription-drugs-cold-medicines Updated May 2016. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  5. The 7 Most Addictive Prescription Medications Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/the-7-most-addictive-prescription-medications/ Accessed October 15, 2016.
  6. Lisa Esposito. Silent Epidemic: Seniors and Addiction. US News and World Report. December 2, 2015. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/12/02/silent-epidemic-seniors-and-addiction. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  7. Prescription Drug Addiction: Top 18 Facts for You & Your Family. Drugs.com website. https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/prescription-drug-addiction-1075 Published August 28, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  8. Monitoring the Future 2015 Survey Results. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2015-survey-results Updated December 2015. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  9. Specific Populations and Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. http://www.samhsa.gov/prescription-drug-misuse-abuse/specific-populations Updated October 27, 2015. Accessed October 15, 2016.
  10. Ryan H, Girion L, Glover S. You Want a Description of Hell?’ OxyContin’s 12-Hour Problem. Los Angeles Times. May 5, 2016. http://static.latimes.com/oxycontin-part1/ Accessed October 15, 2016.
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