On the Rise
Prescription Drug Abuse
W hen most people think of addiction, they think of some derelict on a street corner or in a back alley homeless and wasting away from a nasty and illegal drug habit. But did you consider an addict could be the teen next door, your neighbor, the person in the pew next to you in church, the soccer mom, a co-worker, an athlete recovering from an injury, or even your doctor. This growing segment of the addiction community is an epidemic that is killing thousands of Americans every year. It’s called prescription drug abuse. It is estimated that four million Americans over the age of 12 use prescription pain relievers, sedatives, and stimulants for “nonmedical” reasons every month. Prescription drug abuse is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States and because it affects people from everyday walks of life, our society has changed the nomenclature. Addiction is such an ugly word. Living in a society that is increasingly striving for “political correctness” we now call prescription drug addiction a “dependence”. In reality, this “dependence” is all part of different phases and definitions of what is commonly called “Drug Abuse”. For example, drug abuse is merely the inappropriate use of a controlled substance. Chronic drug abuse is a sustained use over a long period when the user can’t “live without” the medication. Binge usage is an occasional or recreational use of a drug. Dependency is a physiological phenomenon and all humans are susceptible. When the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a substance, the body itself can become addicted. Finally, addiction is a mental dependency (with or without physiological dependence). Usually there is an underlying mental health issue.