According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drug abuse is now the second most common type of illegal drug abuse, trailing only marijuana abuse. Of all prescription drugs, painkillers are the most abused. About 2.5 million people begin abusing painkillers each year in the United States. Some of the most commonly abused painkillers include:
- Opium – Opium has historically been used as a painkiller. However, as its highly addictive nature has been revealed, other drugs have been created to take its place. Many painkillers are either a derivative of opium or man-made versions of opium (opioids).
- Codeine – Codeine is a prescription painkiller found in opium used for moderate to severe pain. It is often combined with acetaminophen.
- Morphine – Morphine is also derived from opium and is similar to but stronger than codeine. It is most commonly injected or ingested.
- Hydrocodone – Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid that is most commonly known by its brand names: Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet
- Oxycodone – Oxycodone is another synthetic opioid that is sold under the brand names Tylox, OxyContin, Percodan and Percocet.
- Fentanyl – Fentanyl is a man-made opioid painkiller often used in a skin patch to help treat cancer patients.
Many painkiller addictions start as a genuine doctor-prescribed need. However, over time the body can become accustomed to the drug and a tolerance may be established. Once your body establishes a tolerance, higher dosages are needed to achieve the same affect. Tolerance can be one of the first signs that an addiction is forming.
Reasons People Move From Use to Abuse
1. Prescription painkillers are easily available. Unlike illicit “street” drugs all the patient needs is a prescription, or a friend with a prescription, and the drug can be obtained from a local pharmacy. 70% of those who abuse painkillers got them from a friend or family member. 2. Painkillers have pleasurable affects. Many narcotic prescription painkillers offer a feeling of euphoria to the user. These euphoric feelings require no effort on the part of the user and can result in the patient taking more than the prescribed dosage in order to get the “high” more often. 3. Withdrawal is unpleasant. If the body has already developed a tolerance to the prescription painkiller and the patient discontinues use, they may experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. You should contact a medical detox center before attempting to kick a serious addiction. Many people don’t get help with their prescription painkiller addiction because they are unaware of the dangers. The truth is drug-induced death is the number two cause of death in the U.S. behind motor vehicle fatalities. If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to prescription painkillers, there is help and hope. Contact Gallus Detox today to begin your course of recovery in a safe, confidential and experienced environment with medical professionals.