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Prescription Drug Addiction

Friends and family of an individual who is addicted to prescription drugs need to step in and help.

Prescription drug addiction is a fast-growing problem among the medical and addiction treatment communities in the United States. Many have gone so far as to say that we are a nation of over-medicated individuals and that problems associated with the addiction to these drugs is just a natural extension of this phenomenon.

What substances lead to Prescription Drug Addiction?

Currently, there are number of prescription medications that are being abused in large numbers across the country. At the top of this list are:

  • Vicodin. This opiate based painkiller is highly addictive because of its strong euphoric effects. It is currently considered the most-abused prescription medication.
  • OxyContin. A time-release opiate painkiller that individuals snort or inject thus ingesting all of the active ingredient at the same time and thus greatening the risk of overdose and addiction. So powerful are the effects of OxyContin abuse that it has been dubbed the “hillbilly heroin” for its similarity to the addictive street drug.
  • Stimulants. Many students and adult workers use amphetamines and other stimulants to stay awake for long stretches of time. The problem is that these drugs are addictive, and when an individual develops a tolerance to them they must take more and more in order to achieve the same effects.
  • Depressants. Depressants have long been a problem in the United States. Drugs designed to help people sleep are often abused because they help “take the edge off” of stress caused by work, school or other factors.
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Who is at risk for a Prescription Drug Addiction?

Anyone of any age can fall victim to a prescription drug addiction, however there are several demographics that are more at risk than others, including:

Teens And Adolescents+

Teens and adolescents. Young people represent the biggest jump in prescription drug addiction over the past several years. More and more teenagers are getting prescription painkillers and stimulants from their friends, as well as on the Internet (via illicit online pharmacies). Teens are at risk as well because there appears to be a lack of good information about the dangers of these drugs and their addictive nature.

The Elderly+

The elderly. Older Americans use prescription drugs to help them cope with chronic illness, pain and other problems that are common among seniors. Many become addicted without even realizing it having never engaged in substance abuse at any point during their lives. Complicating matters, elderly people tend to spend a significant amount of time alone. This hastens the cycle of addiction as the family is not likely to be present to help recognize the symptoms of addiction and get the individual the help they need.


Women. Women are at risk for developing addictions to a number of different prescription medications. Stimulant addiction is often a problem, as women will use these drugs in order to help them lose weight. Depressant addiction has also been a problem among women for decades beginning with the Valium “craze” of the 1970’s.

Getting someone into Prescription Drug Addiction treatment

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Those individuals who suffer from drug addiction rarely seek professional help on their own and are often in denial about the depth of their problem. If talking to the individual does not work, loved ones or co-workers may want to consider an intervention. A drug intervention lets the individual know in no uncertain terms that they have a problem that is affecting not only them, but those closest to them. It helps, in a caring way, steer that addicted individual immediately into drug rehab.

Verify Your Benefits at an American Addiction Centers Facility

The cost of alcohol or drug addiction treatment may appear to be an obstacle, but we are here to help. Insurance may cover all or some of your rehab.

Find out if your insurance covers long-term addiction rehabilitation.

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