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Prescription Drug Addiction Intervention in the United States

Prescribed Medication Abuse and Life Saving Intervention

Millions of Americans abuse prescribed opioids, stimulants, and sedatives, and millions more are addicted, requiring life-saving intervention. Newman Interventions is a nationwide family intervention group helping families save the life of a loved one addicted to prescription drugs.

We aim to provide your loved one with a successful family intervention for their problem. There are demographics of the population more at risk, such as adults and older adults. Unfortunately, it has become a public health issue during COVID-19. Underlying issues like anxiety disorders, pain, depression, and other health problems lead to abusing prescribed narcotics.

Additionally, millions of Americans abusing prescription drugs do so with other drugs and alcohol, drastically increasing the risk of overdose. Some prescription drugs are more popular than others, yet they generally involve three drug classes.

In our professional opinion, family intervention is the only successful method to help anyone in a difficult situation involving drugs.

A Population Most at Risk for Prescription Narcotic Addiction

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, those at greatest risk include young adults, older adults, females, those in poor or fair health, and daily alcohol drinkers. PrProblems with prescription narcotics often begin because of the overuse of multiple medications.

Common symptoms of illicit prescription medication use include:

  • Stealing, forging, or selling prescriptions.
  • Taking larger or higher doses than prescribed.
  • Excessive mood swings.
  • Increase or decrease in sleep.
  • Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated.
  • Requesting early refills or losing prescriptions.
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor.

Prescription medication abuse has reached an epidemic level within the United States, especially with opioids. The overuse of pain medication expanded the “at risk” population to include young adults and teens. Much of the epidemiology of the epidemic began in the early 1990s when the recreational use of these medications escalated rapidly.

Research began looking at all demographics and the impact of the problem across the lifespan. In addition, it began to explore optimal treatment and effective public policy initiatives.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Many medications are abused. The following three classes are the most commonly misused prescribed narcotics:

  • Opioids-usually prescribed to treat pain.
  • Central nervous system depressants-used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • Stimulants-most often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 9.3 million people in the United States reported misusing prescription pain relievers, including teens, young adults, and older adults. In addition, 4.8 million people reported misusing benzodiazepines, and 5.1 million reported misusing stimulants.

These narcotics are often prescribed to treat pain, anxiety, learning disorders, and other disorders or medical condition. Unfortunately, long-term use leads to dependence and addiction.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Made Early Intervention Imperative for Families

It was an epidemic within a pandemic. Overdose deaths increased, individuals turned to prescription medication to manage stress and anxiety, and countless families searched for a way to intervene and help a loved one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States reached the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. Before the pandemic in 2019, over 14 thousand people died from an overdose involving prescription opioids. Roughly 82% of or four out of five pharmacy-filled prescriptions are opioids.

Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic increased the rates of mental illness and behavioral problems, like drug and alcohol addiction, among many Americans. The National Institutes of Health were on record saying people with substance use disorders may be at higher risk for SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections.

Early intervention saves lives and is the sole reason why so many people successfully stop these medications. Prevention and treatment efforts successfully manage the problem. However, addiction intervention also prevents the disorder from leading to the use of illicit substances later in life.

Family Intervention for Prescription Drug Addiction

More than 131 million people, or 66% of all adults in the United States use prescription drugs

Narcotic medication use is associated with age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, and health status. Pharmaceuticals include:

  • Opioids like oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone.
  • Sedative and tranquilizers.
  • Anti-anxiety medication like Xanax, clonazepam, or diazepam and barbiturates.

The improper use of these drugs leads to life-threatening problems, especially when used with alcohol, which increases the risk of death. Family intervention is a process where a professional interventionist works with a family to organize an intervention.

The intervention process helps the individual understand how their substance abuse has led to dependence. According to Harvard Medical School, drug dependence leads to addiction. Dependence is an uncontrollable desire to experience the pleasurable effects of an illicit substance or to prevent the unpleasant effects of withdrawal. Interventionists are trained to help families prepare an intervention, especially before withdrawal symptoms begin.

Underlying Issues and Prescription Drug Abuse

There are countless underlying issues connected to misuse of prescribed medication-for example, mental health disorders, pain, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many individuals who develop substance use disorders are also diagnosed with mental disorders.

There are high rates of pharmaceutical drug use among people with anxiety, panic disorders, or post-traumatic stress. Individuals are given prescriptions and often remain on these prescriptions longer than needed or misuse them. Common prescriptions include:

  • Opioid analgesics-codeine, hydrocodone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and propoxyphene.
  • Benzodiazepines-alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide HCL, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam.
  • Barbiturates-butalbital, meprobamate, pentobarbital sodium, phenobarbital, secobarbital.
  • Stimulants-amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, and sibutramine.

Experts believe three main pathways contribute to the comorbidity between substance and mental illness. Initially, there are common risk factors that contribute to both. Mental illness may contribute to substance use and addiction. Substance use and addiction may contribute to the development of mental illness.

Preventing Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths with Early Intervention

Preventing prescription drug addiction among teens and adults begins with early intervention. For example, more than 84% of Americans had contact with a health care professional, placing doctors in a unique position to identify non-medical use of prescribed drugs. Patients can also take steps to ensure that they use prescription medication appropriately.

However, when someone becomes addicted, the only successful solution is family intervention. Addiction and physical dependence become challenging to manage without professional help. A professional addiction interventionist is the most efficient solution for teens, young adults, or older adults struggling with addiction.

How Can I Help a Loved One Who's Addicted to Prescription Drugs?
If someone you love is abusing abusing prescribed medications, here is what you can do to help them. Do not delay in honestly expressing your concerns. Listen to what they are saying, and offer them information about detox, treatment, or counseling. Be prepared for denial, and avoid lecturing or threatening them. Finally, understand that a single conversation will not fix the problem.
What effect does drinking alcohol and taking prescription drugs have?
Mixing alcohol with certain medication can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. In addition, it also places you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficult breathing. Alcohol combined with depressants causes memory loss and potential death. Alcohol combined with stimulants leads to significant impairment and potential death. Alcohol combined with opioids leads to lowered breathing, coma, and death.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
The misuse of prescribed drugs involves the use of the medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor. For example, problematic use includes taking a friend’s prescription for pain medication to manage mild pain or crushing and snorting stimulant medication to give yourself a boost.
Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
The most commonly abused prescribed narcotics are opioids, anti-anxiety medication or sedatives, and stimulants. Opioids include Oxycontin and Percocet. Anti-anxiety medication and sedatives include Xanax, Valium, and hypnotics like Ambien. Stimulant drugs include Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall XR, and Dexedrine.
Is There Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction?
Yes, there is treatment for this substance use disorder, and it must take into account the type of drug used and the needs of the individual. Multiple courses of treatment may be needed for the patient to make a full recovery. Successful treatment may need to incorporate several components-for example, medical detox, counseling, therapy, other methodologies, and significant aftercare support.

Saving a Life Starts Here

Learn more about our method for successful intervention. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation with an Intervention Counselor.

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