The Line Between Drug Use and Drug Abuse

old man looking at prescription medicine bottle
opioid addiction
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day more than 1,000 people are treated for some sort of drug abuse. This number is expected to rise as the opioid drug epidemic continues to expand. Opioid deaths in 2016 were five times higher compared to 1999. Unsurprisingly, the sales of prescription drugs have quadrupled.

Between 1999 and 2016, over 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Many of these people started off walking the fine line between drug use and drug abuse. Because opioids and other prescription medications are so addictive, people eventually fall into the trap of prescription drug addiction.

Signs You Could Be Facing Addiction: Use vs. Abuse

In the beginning, it’s hard to understand the difference between prescription use and abuse. Is taking an extra pill or two a day abuse? What happens when you’re no longer in pain but you crave the medication? Thousands of people have found themselves dependent on these drugs and abusing them day in and day out. Think that you or a loved one may be abusing opioid drugs? Telltale signs of signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Lying about how often the medication is taken
  • Being easily frustrated, anxious, or agitated
  • Hiding medications
  • An inability to focus and a racing mind
  • Constantly thinking about medications
  • Using fake prescriptions
  • A loss of interest in other activities

Keep in mind that not everyone who is suffering from opioid abuse will exhibit all of these signs. What’s certain is that over time, the addiction will get even worse and more signs and symptoms will be noticeable.

The Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Opioids are often prescribed to treat pain or other ailments. They can help with pain relief after surgery or to speed up recovery from an injury. The problem with opioids and other prescription pain relievers is that they’re highly addictive. In turn, people are left in the throes of prescription drug abuse.

If you’re taking a prescription opioid to treat pain or to recover, try to use them as infrequently as possible. Stick to the recommended dosage and, once the prescription runs out, switch to over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the risk of becoming addicted.

Are Prescription Drugs Being Used Correctly by Teens?

Misuse of prescription drugs ranks second to use of marijuana among teenagers. Teenagers believe that because prescription drugs are legal, regulated, and prescribed by a doctor that they don’t pose any health threats—but statistics prove just how dangerous prescription drug abuse really is. Almost 5% of teenagers between 12 and 17 misused drugs in 2013. The number jumped to 8.8% in the 18-25 age range. In 2013, teens were commonly sent to the emergency room to treat issues related to misuse of pain relievers, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines.

It’s no surprise that risk-taking, misinformation, and misconceptions are all driving factors in what attracts teens to abuse prescription drugs. Peer pressure and drug availability also play a role. Because teens don’t think that opioid painkillers abuse is dangerous, they’re less worried about the side effects.

In teens, common signs of prescription drug addiction include changes in appetite, fatigue, a drop in grades, behavior complaints, and mood swings. Be aware of your child’s behavior and, if something seems off, communication is the first step to pinpointing the issue.

First Step Toward Recovery

Anyone who is suffering from drug abuse or showing signs of painkiller addiction should take immediate action to protect their health. The first step is to contact your doctor and to end your prescription. Use over-the-counter pain medications to keep yourself comfortable. After ending your access to the drug, the next step is to detox and work toward recovery and sobriety.

At RECO Intensive, our goal is to help you get back to a brighter future. We will work with you to overcome your prescription drug addiction so that you can live a happier, healthier, and safer life. It’s time to stop drug abuse in its tracks. Contact our team at 855.799.1035 to discuss treatment options.

Sources

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html
  2. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm