Prescription drug addiction and abuse is becoming an epidemic across the United States. It is estimated that 15 million Americans abuse different types of prescription drugs each year. There are several myths associated with prescription drug abuse, and this misinformation can be very harmful, even deadly.
Here are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about prescription drug abuse and addiction.
Prescription Drugs Are Safer Than Illicit Drugs
One of the most pervasive and potentially devastating myths about prescription drugs is that abusing them is safer than taking an illicit drug, such as heroin or cocaine. People often believe that if the medication was provided by a physician, found in a friend, family member, or parent’s medicine cabinet, or even purchased on the internet, it is safer to abuse or to use recreationally.
Unfortunately, in 2014, nearly 19,000 people died after overdosing on a prescription narcotic pain medication.
Abusing a prescription opioid, such as oxycodone, codeine, tramadol, or morphine is a serious issue that can lead to addiction and in many tragic cases, even death.
It’s Not Abuse If a Reputable Doctor Wrote the Prescription
Many people believe that it’s not technically prescription drug abuse if the reputable, established family doctor you’ve been seeing for years wrote the prescription. Your doctor is providing you a medication with very strict instructions that need to be followed. If you begin taking the drugs recreationally or in a way other than as prescribed by your doctor, it can lead to prescription drug abuse.
Unfortunately, some patients also continue to take a potentially addictive drug when it is no longer medically necessary or provide false information to a physician in order to procure a prescription. Even if a doctor wrote the prescription, it is still abuse if you are taking the drugs for recreational purposes, rather than to treat an illness or condition.
Prescription Drugs Aren’t Addictive If You Take Them as Prescribed by a Doctor
Another common misconception is that if you follow your doctor’s orders and only take a potentially addictive medication as needed or according to a strict schedule, the possibility of becoming dependent is very low. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has created a controlled substance schedule. This schedule is rated from one to five, with one being drugs that are not legally prescribed or used for medical purposes.
A schedule two drug is a prescription medication with the highest risk of addiction. In some cases, even if an individual takes a prescription medication according to their doctor’s orders, they can still become addicted. That is why it is important to discuss the potential issues that arise when taking potentially addictive prescription drugs with your doctor.
Share your fears and apprehensions about the prescription, and work with your doctor to find the safest way to treat your symptoms or condition.
Sharing Prescription Drugs with Friends and Family Isn’t Bad
If you are legally prescribed a medication, such as a painkiller, and a family member or friend comes over with a bad headache, you might think that it’s no big deal to give them one or two pills. You might also think it’s safe for you to take a medication you find in a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.
Unfortunately, both of these scenarios are not only illegal, they are also potentially dangerous. If you take a medication that was prescribed for another individual, even if you are familiar with it, you might suffer a bad reaction. The drug could interact badly with the prescriptions you are taking, or you could suffer an allergic reaction.
Additionally, taking a friend or family member’s prescription medication without their permission can lead to anger, mistrust, and a breakdown of your relationship.
Going to Rehab Won’t Help Me Beat a Prescription Drug Addiction
Many people believe that prescription drug addiction is somehow unique and that a traditional rehabilitation setting won’t be effective. They also often believe that addiction is something they can simply get over or beat on their own. If you have a loved one who is battling with a prescription drug addiction and they have been exposed to this misconception, it’s important to help them realize that rehabilitation is a viable choice.
There are several rehabilitation centers that work with individuals facing a prescription drug addiction. These centers can help people not only discover why and how the addiction started, but also how they can rebuild their life. This will ultimately help patients understand more about themselves, as well as enjoy a life outside of the facility that is free from prescription drug addiction.
There are several myths and misconceptions associated with prescription drug abuse and addiction, and all that misinformation can be very dangerous. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Pacific Ridge.