The risks of prescription drug abuse—particularly opiates—are becoming quite clear in America, as overdoses rise and more painkiller addicts transition to using other illicit drugs such as heroin. While the addictive qualities of painkillers are obvious, these drugs are easy to obtain. In fact, recent reports reveal that most “high use” painkiller abusers obtain these medications for misuse through doctors, friends and family members—not dealers.
In addition to the ease of access of painkillers, manufacturers are still introducing new products into the market. For example, the recent introduction of Zohydro—a powerful painkiller that contains 10 times more hydrocodone than the frequently abused Vicodin—has raised many concerns involving addiction.
Since painkillers are often obtained legally, it is difficult to assess whether an individual is forming a chemical dependency on a certain drug—some individuals may even feel that the abuse is legitimate. However, at Chapters Capistrano we believe that prevention is central to diminishing rates of prescription drug addiction.
If you or a loved one has been prescribed any type of painkiller, it is important to take many steps to ensure that the drug is used responsibly and correctly. Here are a few observations to consider for responsible painkiller use:
- Is Painkiller Use Necessary?
For many individuals, painkillers are an easy and convenient option to deal with agitation or discomfort that may not actually be that serious. Others may be prescribed these drugs without even knowing alternative options for treating pain. Before you take a drug, ask your doctor what options there are to lower risk of addiction.
- Discuss Addiction Risk
It is important to learn the specific addiction risk associated with every type of medication that a doctor may prescribe you. Talking with your doctor about a family history of substance abuse and concerns of addiction can help you become more aware of how to stop addiction in its tracks.
- Follow Doctor’s Orders
Prescriptions should be carefully made by a doctor based on your overall health profile. As such, it is important to only take the recommended dosage at the indicated times. Taking more than the recommended amount or increasing use can heighten tolerance to the drug and encourage chemical dependency. In addition, it is important to pay attention to specific warnings, such as not using motor vehicles or drinking alcohol with the medication being used.
- Question the Need for Refill
While painkiller prescriptions can be helpful for those recovering from surgery or experiencing a bout of chronic pain, continued use of the medication is generally not recommended. If you find yourself needing to refill a prescription or “stretching the truth” about pain symptoms to gain medication from your doctor, it may be time to address the possibility of substance abuse.
- Keep Medications Stored Safely
Even if you are using prescription painkillers responsibly, there is the risk that someone you may know may seek this medication from you. If a friend or family member asks for a pill here or there to “treat pain,” it is important to not give them any medication—as doctor’s instruction is necessary. In addition, it is vital to keep these medications safely stored to prevent abuse from others who may try to steal or “experiment” with the drugs.
What Happens If You Are Addicted to Prescription Painkillers
While the goal of considering these tips is to prevent addiction to painkillers, the risk for forming a dependency is always there—even if used responsibly. In cases of addiction, it is essential to seek immediate help; the longer an addiction takes place, the more harm an individual could be doing to his or her body.
If you or a loved one is struggling with painkiller abuse, Chapters Capistrano has a professional team and a wealth of resources to help. From our comfortable on-site detox center to comprehensive flexible treatment at our oceanside location, our time team is ready to help every guest achieve a path toward renewed confidence and sobriety. Contact us at 1-888-617-67511-888-617-6751 to learn more about how we can treat prescription drug abuse and many other forms of addiction.