According to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, next to alcohol and marijuana, people who are 14 years of age and older abuse prescription and over-the-counter drugs more than any other substances. Many people abuse hem by taking higher quantities and higher doses than prescribed. Due to the mild-altering effects of some of these drugs, drug abuse and addiction is on the rise.
In the United States, the most commonly abused medications are:
* Opioids commonly prescribed for pain relief
* Depressants tranquilizers and sedatives, commonly prescribed for sleep disorders and anxiety
* Stimulants commonly prescribed for narcolepsy and ADHD, an attention-deficit disorder
Drug abuse leads to addiction which has serious health and lifestyle consequences. Over the last 10 years, drug abuse has increased significantly. Overdoses have put hundreds of thousands of people in the hospital and increased fatalities by as much as 10 percent. Overdose deaths due to opioid pain relievers outnumber deaths by cocaine and heroin by a wide margin. It doesn’t take an idiots-guide-staying-sober-happy to realize that drug addiction is a growing concern across the country. It is affecting the lives of kids as young as eight, teenagers, young adults, and older adults in their fifties and sixties. Drug abuse and addiction doesn’t discriminate by age, race or color. It’s an equal opportunity offender.
Opioids act on nerve cells in the brain and body to relieve pain. Opioid drugs include heroin, hydrocodone and oxycodone, codeine, Vicodin, morphine, and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s very powerful. When taken as prescribed by a physician for short periods of time, opioid pain relievers are typically safe. However, even when taken as prescribed opioids are powerful drugs that have potential risks of dependence, addiction and overdose. If opioid use is abused, the consequences are often overdose and death.
Cough and Cold Medicines
Some over-the-counter cough and cold medicines contain ingredients that have mild-altering effects when taken in higher doses than recommended on the label. Although the thought of getting high on a cold medicine may seem ridiculous, it happens quite frequently. A cough suppressant called Dextromethorphan is found in a variety of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. When taken in large quantities, it can produce euphoria and hallucinations. Since over-the-counter medicines are inexpensive and easy to get, teenagers are primary abusers of these types of drugs. Within the teenage circle, getting high on cough and cold medicines is known as skittling or robo-tripping.
Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction
In the beginning, taking drugs is a choice, but drug use over time takes away that choice and becomes addiction. Addiction is a disease that impacts brain function and behavior. It has a powerful impact on parts of the brain that control learning, memory, motivation, and behavior. With long-term drug use, a person will need professional help to fight drug addiction. Medications are often an important part of treatment, as well as counseling and behavioral therapy. Proper treatment for drug abuse and addiction will likely also include detoxification and long-term followup to make sure the drug user doesn’t relapse. Followup care often includes medical and mental health services, as well as clinical or community-based therapy sessions.
Since drug treatment programs and detox centers can be rather expensive, most people ask does insurance cover substance abuse detox? Since drug abuse and addiction are considered to be a medical illness, many insurance companies cover the costs of drug rehab and detox programs. Depending on the location, the type of treatment needed, and the length of the treatment program, costs can vary significantly from one center to another. Outpatient treatment centers are always cheaper than inpatient centers. Outpatient programs are less intensive. You only attend treatment during the day, so you’re allowed to sleep at home or in a sober living facility if needed. It’s best to find the appropriate treatment center and location before discussing the costs with your health provider, so you can discuss specific treatments that you will need.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse and addiction, it’s important to get professional help. There are wonderful treatment centers around the country who can help you get clean and sober and kick your addiction. You can’t fight drug addiction alone, so take the first step to recovery through treatment and change your life and the lives of everyone who cares about you. It won’t be the easiest thing you ever did, but it will be one of the best.