Many people believe that because pharmaceuticals are legally prescribed by doctors, there is no harm in using them recreationally. This idea is completely untrue.
Prescription painkillers are highly addictive and dangerous for any person, prescribed or not. Dependency on prescription painkillers has steadily risen and has become an epidemic in the United States.
Statistics show that teens are the most likely age group to abuse prescription drugs. Further studies imply that the rise in teen use of prescription drugs is related to the accessibility of popular painkillers in parent’s medicine cabinets. Although teens are at the highest risk of abusing these drugs, almost every demographic has shown an increase of abuse. Prescription painkillers have become the most commonly abused prescription drug in the United States. A 2006 survey found that 7 million people, ages 12 and over, had abused prescriptions or over the counter drugs in the past 30 days, most of the drugs being abused were painkillers.
The most commonly abused prescription painkillers are all derived from opium or are synthetic opioids. The most commonly abused prescription painkillers are codeine, morphine, hydrocodone (also known as vicodin, lortab and lorcet), oxycodone (also known as oxycontin, “oxycotton” and “oxy”), fentanyl, darvocet and dilaudid. All of these drugs are highly addictive and dangerous.
Some behavioral signs of prescription painkiller addiction are:
- Increased usage of the drug – how often and how much. The body builds a tolerance to prescription painkillers so it takes more of the drug to get the same high over time.
- Change in personality or normal behavior – shifts in energy, mood and concentration as the focus in the person’s life becomes more about the drug.
- Withdrawal from family and friends and normal activity.
- Continued usage after the medical need for the prescription painkiller is gone.
- Seeing various doctors to get prescriptions or frequent emergency room visits for pain.
- Doing less self care, such as not caring about personal hygiene or appearance.
- Neglecting responsibilities – calling into work sick or not going to school.
- Blacking out and forgetfulness