On the Rise

Pre­scrip­tion Drug Abuse

Wellness Update - - In The News -

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.

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