Recent reports reveal that Idaho has a serious problem with prescription drug abuse. According to these reports, “Idaho was one of the top ten states for rates of drug-use in several categories.” Two of these categories involved prescription painkiller abuse. The most concerning trend is the high rate of abuse among young people in the state.
Prescription drugs and painkillers serve an important purpose. They ease injuries, diseases, and surgical recoveries for millions of people every year. But they can also become an incredibly destructive force if used improperly. Casual or infrequent use of prescription drugs may seem harmless enough, but abuse can evolve into addiction very quickly.
How Can Prescription Drug Abuse Be Prevented?
Vigilance and awareness are the best ways to avoid prescription drug abuse and addiction. If you are prescribed painkillers, resolve to only use them when necessary. Let someone close to you know about your prescription, so that they can be on the lookout for any warning signs. Some of the most common side effects of prescription painkiller abuse are
- Feelings of euphoria
- Slow breathing
- Poor coordination
- Increased pain
If you notice these signs in yourself or in someone else, take action. Seek medical help. Doctors are trained for these situations and will know best how to help you.
Properly discarding used medicine is extremely important. The Food and Drug Administration offers guidelines on how to get rid of your old and unused prescriptions. Leaving your medicine cabinet full of leftover drugs can have serious consequences.
Are Prescription Painkillers the Only Problem?
No! In fact, some of the most widely abused prescription drugs are not painkillers. Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and stimulants like Adderall are extremely popular.
- Stimulants: Adderall and Ritalin
- These drugs are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- They are popular “study drugs,” used by students to focus at school or work.
- In addition to academics, the stimulants are used recreationally as well.
- One study found that over 30% of college students reported using the ADHD medications Adderall or Ritalin within the past year without a prescription.
- Over 60% of those students reported being offered the drugs.
- Anti-Anxiety Medications: Xanax
- Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
- It is abused as a party drug by many young people, and often referred to as “zannies.”
- Use without a prescription can lead to impaired judgment and harmful psychological reactions.
Many young people, and people in general, believe that prescription drugs are less dangerous than street drugs because they came from a doctor. But prescription drug abuse is just as dangerous as the abuse of illegal narcotics.
Overcoming Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
Winning the fight against addiction in any form is very difficult. The effects of withdrawal can make it seem nearly impossible to go without a certain drug. Use all of the available resources to help yourself or a loved one overcome prescription drug abuse.
Community Coalitions of Idaho is a great source of support and opportunity in the fight against substance abuse. Whether you’re seeking advice or wanting to get involved, you may find what you’re looking for.
We are dedicated to serving the people of Idaho. If you have any questions about our office or our legal services, contact us today for a free consultation.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr and Eric Norris