Prescription Drug Abuse is Fueled By Ease of Access

closeup of medicine capsules being poured from pill bottle into hand

In addiction recovery, one of the most frequent thoughts that individuals revisit is what factors led them toward substance abuse. While the road to addiction is often a unique one, many will find that their substance abuse is brought on by overall access to drugs. Often, when drugs are made affordable and easily accessible, addiction is likely to follow.

With little barriers preventing individuals from using a substance, addiction can be a rapid process. While factors of accessibility are easily found among those using street drugs or alcohol, many are still left with questions as to how individuals are able to feed prescription drug addictions.

Since prescription drugs, such as opioids, are produced legally through pharmaceutical companies, it is hard for many to believe that addiction is a possibility. For many, the “legitimacy” of prescription drugs makes it seem that it would be hard to abuse the substance in a long-term period. For instance, it is often believed that if one is using too many prescription drugs, it would prove difficult to obtain these substances through doctors or pharmacies.

However, those who become addicted to prescription painkillers and other medications will find that it is much easier to acquire these drugs than what the public may believe. Addicts will frequently develop a system that allows them to take advantage of what friends, family members, and medical professionals have to offer.

According to a recent CDC report, only about 15 percent of prescription drug abusers claim getting their substances from a dealer or a stranger. Since these substances do not always come from a “dealer,” it is important to recognize what sources can help fuel prescription drug addiction:

  • Family and Friends

What is most startling about prescription drug abuse is that many may be getting the substances from those who are closest to them. Loved ones may not catch on that the person asking for an occasional painkiller could be addicted—some may believe that the request is just made out of convenience.

According to a recent article from New York Daily News, family and friends may not only be the easiest to get these drugs from, but also the cheapest. The article states, “Most people who abuse addictive prescription painkillers get them for free from friends or relatives, while drug dealers are a relatively uncommon source for those at highest risk for deadly overdoses, a government study found.”

It is important for individuals to recognize that anyone asking for prescription drugs should always gain attention from medical professionals before use. While it may seem harmless to provide an occasional pill to a loved one, doing so could be doing more harm than good. In severe cases, this ease of access could lead to addiction or overdose.

Individuals who find that prescription drugs are missing may also be unknowingly supplying drugs for a loved one’s addiction. As part of the aforementioned study, it was observed that many addicts will obtain substances through theft. This is why it is important to keep prescription drugs out of reach and dispose of them properly.

  • Doctors

While individuals should always get a prescription from a doctor when using painkillers, such as opioids, it does not always mean that the use is legitimate. Too frequently, people believe that if their doctor is prescribing the medication then they are free from addiction or misuse.

However, according to a recent report from Reuters, many prescription drug abusers will rely on trusted physicians to get their fix. What’s even more surprising is that use of doctors to access these substances is not just common among those just beginning to explore prescription drugs, it is also frequent among “high use” individuals. In fact, the article suggests that many will begin to experiment with prescription drugs first by getting them for free from friends and family, as mentioned above.

Reuters reports, “U.S. government researchers found that nearly one in three ‘high use’ abusers – people who take opioids between 200 and 365 days a year—obtained a doctor’s prescription for the drugs, compared with about one in five of those who used the drugs less than 30 days over the course of a year.”

In severe cases of addiction, individuals may learn how to visit multiple doctors and gain various prescriptions for different kinds of medications. Others will simply make up ailments or go to the emergency room to receive their substance of choice.

What to Do If a Loved One is Asking for Prescription Drugs

More often than not, a person struggling with substance abuse will need support to recognize the presence of addiction and enter a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. By understanding the sources of prescription drug abuse, it is possible to take action early on to prevent serious health consequences or fatality in a loved one.

If someone you know is asking for prescription drugs, it is important to consider the possibility that he or she is facing addiction challenges. While it is important to never supply prescription medications to others, it is also critical to take notice of efforts an individual may be taking to gain these substances—such as frequent trips to the doctor’s office.

If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse, there are many options for flexible treatment. Contact Chapters Capistrano today at 1-888-333-85691-888-333-8569 to learn more about how our addiction recovery plans can help.

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