Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the U.S., with reports stating that more people die from abusing these drugs than from all other drugs combined. The rate of prescription drug abuse is increasing rapidly, especially among young adults. “Pharm Parties” in which young people abuse prescription drugs are becoming common.
It is important to seek treatment within a rehabilitation center if you feel that you or a loved one are engaging in prescription drug abuse. Avoid serious health complications and overdose now by calling Alcohol Treatment Centers Sacramento at (530) 204-5366.
The most common type of abuse is using medicines prescribed for someone else, such as family or friends, and this is particularly true in young people. Other typical forms of abuse are taking medications in higher doses than prescribed and taking medications incorrectly. For example, some abusers crush, snort, or inject medications prescribed to be taken orally so that the effect on their brains is enhanced.
In the United States, drugs are classified by the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs have no recognized medical use in the U.S. and are highly likely to be drugs of abuse. They include heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy and are known as street or illegal drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse but have accepted medical uses and may be obtained on prescription. They include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and opiates such as methadone.
Stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin are often prescribed for disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but some people think they also improve academic performance, which can lead to their abuse. Another class of drugs often abused is depressants. Users can develop a tolerance to them over time, which leads to taking greater dosages than prescribed. These drugs include Xanax and Valium.
Prescription drugs such as pain relievers like OxyContin are often based on opium, which leads to abuse because they have mind-altering properties. These drugs affect the same parts of the brain as illegal opiate drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Other prescription drugs lead to abuse because they increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, and this chemical produces feelings of pleasure.
The effects of the abuse depend on the drug, but can be extremely serious. Abuse of stimulants can result in heart failure, raised body temperature and seizures. Depressants can cause lack of energy and coordination and a muddled brain. Opioid painkillers produce chronic constipation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing that can damage the brain. Even over-the-counter drugs such as cough medicines and cold remedies can slow the breathing, raise blood pressure, and increase the heart rate.
Addiction to prescription drugs can be difficult to treat, and drug rehab treatment may take a long time. Sometimes a residential stay in rehab is necessary where withdrawal from the drug can be managed in a facility in which medical help is constantly on hand, and in which other prescription drugs can be given to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
After medical detoxification to treat withdrawal from the drug, patients may be directed to join support groups or ongoing counseling to help them cope with medical issues such as pain in a less damaging way.
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