Prescription medications have improved and saved countless lives. However, prescription drugs often destroy lives due to abuse. In fact, prescription drug abuse is a huge issue in the United States and contributes to Americans’ ongoing drug crisis.
This fact may have you wondering, why is prescription drug abuse common? The short answer to this question is that prescription drugs are often misunderstood and easy to come across, making it easy to abuse the prescription drugs.
Keep reading for a more comprehensive explanation of why prescription drug abuse is so common and to learn what to do if someone you love is addicted to prescription medications.
Stats About Prescription Drug Abuse
In order to understand why prescription drug abuse is common, you have to understand the reality of prescription drug abuse.
Studies have found that about 16 million or 6% of Americans over 12 years of age abuse prescriptions every year. Furthermore, about 2 billion or 12% of prescription drug users are addicted.
The vast majority of prescription drugs that are abused are opioids. In fact, 4 out of every 5 pharmacy-filled prescriptions count as opioids. It is estimated that about 59.5% of prescription abusers use painkillers, whereas 57.1% use opioids specifically.
The most abused painkillers include barbiturates, codeine, methadone, morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol. Commonly abused psychotherapeutic prescriptions include Adderall, morphine, oxycodone, Ritalin, Xanax, and Vicodin. These are only a few examples of prescription drugs frequently abused in America.
Why is Abuse of Prescription Drugs Such a Common Problem?
Since the abuse of prescription drugs is such an issue, it’s important to understand the why in order to combat the issue. In many cases, prescription drug addiction begins with misuse and misinformation. As a result, young people and elderly users are most likely to abuse prescription drugs.
Many elderly patients, for example, abuse prescriptions unintentionally. They will take way more than the recommended doses in order to quell physical or emotional pain. At the same time, they believe taking more than the recommended dose is safe given that the medication was prescribed by a doctor.
However, just because medications are prescribed by a doctor does not mean it is safe. It’s imperative to always follow the prescription recommendations to ensure you are using the prescription safely. Likewise, you should never buy or sell prescription drugs from anyone other than a pharmacist.
Another reason why prescription drug abuse is so common is that it is easy to get ahold of. In comparison to illicit drugs, it’s a lot easier to get prescription drugs. You can go to a doctor or find someone else who does. In other words, the fact that the drug is given out by doctors means you don’t have to look as hard to find it.
Between the misinformation and overabundance of prescription drugs, prescription drug abuse is a serious issue in the United States. The issue is most common among elderly and young adult users specifically, but anyone can suffer from prescription drug abuse.
How to do an Intervention for Drug Addiction
If you believe that a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, you can host an intervention in order to encourage that individual to get the help they need.
Find a doctor or a licensed professional who can help you with the intervention process. During the intervention, confront the individual about the consequences of their addiction and ask them to accept treatment.
It is important to have a follow-up plan for the intervention, such as where the addict will go. Recovery Beach is one recovery rehab facility that can help individuals who suffer from prescription addiction. Contact Recovery Beach today to learn more about our prescription drug abuse program.