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Alcohol Addiction and Prescription Drugs

The most misused prescription drugs include opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants.  In 2017, it was estimated that 18 million people in the nation had misused prescription drugs at least once in the past year.  An estimated two million Americans misused prescription pain drugs, more than one million misused stimulants, and over 1.5 million are misusing tranquilizers.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, many of these prescriptions are being abused with alcohol.  The combination of alcohol and prescription drugs is dangerous, and it is done to enhance the effects of alcohol or prescription drugs.  The abuse of alcohol and stimulants increases your chance for heart problems, and alcohol and CNS depressants increase your chance for respiratory failure.   


Despite this, millions of Americans abuse these drugs and become addicted, resulting in a family intervention being performed to save his or her life.  An intervention for a family member is a well-planned out process and involves a certified interventionist.  Alcohol and prescription drug abuse can be easily overlooked because alcohol is legal, and prescriptions are given by doctors.  An alcoholic can become good at hiding their drinking problem, and convince the family the prescription is needed for legitimate reasons.  However, any addiction becomes progressively worse and more noticeable where the family will have to intervene.  When you are searching for interventionist near you, it is important to contact Newman Interventions.  We’re a nationwide service and will travel to any part of the country. 

What if their addiction requires medical attention?


This is a common scenario for most alcoholics and prescription drug users.  If the addict has been doing this for a long time, they will not be able to stop on their own without professional help.  Medical detox or some type of hospital inpatient program is needed to ensure they can safely stop taking the drugs they are abusing.  The combination of alcohol and prescription drugs will require medical help because the withdrawal pain is severe.  A professional interventionist can help the family locate a suitable medical detox prior to the addict going to treatment.  During the initial phone call with our intervention team, we will want to know what drugs they are taking. 


The combination of alcohol with opioids, CNS depressants, and stimulants is dangerous.  It is important to provide as much information to the interventionist during the initial consultation.  The day of the intervention during the initial planning, the preparation is done with knowing what types of prescription drugs they may be abusing with the alcohol.  If there is a risk that medical attention is required, this will be something that we can help have ready to access if it is needed. 


Why are prescription drugs used with alcohol?


Many of these addictions do not start with the intent to abuse prescription drugs.  Most alcoholics struggle with anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems and naturally go to doctors for medication.  Because an alcoholic will not feel his or her drinking is problem, it is not brought up unless asked about by the examining doctor.  If this is the case, the alcoholic will likely lie about their drinking to ensure they receive the prescription.  Heavy drinking and prescription drug use enhance the effects of either medication or alcohol, and this is what becomes addictive.  Prescription opioids, stimulants, and CNS depressants are not meant for long-term use.  However, regular consistent use leads to dependency.  The consistent use of alcohol and prescription drugs also creates a dependency, which eventually leads to the addiction to both alcohol and prescription drugs.


Works cited – NIDA, Prescription Drugs – Sept 22/19

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