Prescription drug addiction is one of the biggest drug threats in the nation, and prescriptions drugs are the second most commonly abused type of drug, behind marijuana. In 2009, an estimated 7 million Americans aged 12 years and older abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. The problem is so dire, that there are an estimated 800,000 web sites which sell prescription drugs online and will ship these drugs to households no questions asked. Individuals who abuse prescription drugs often have no prescription or are using far more of the medicine than has been prescribed to get "high" or to experience a more powerful effect that is not intended with regular use.
The two types of prescription drugs which are most commonly abused are opioids and benzodiazepines. Opioids are mostly prescribed to control or relieve mild, moderate and severe pain while Benzodiazepinesare used to treat anxiety. These prescription drugs are typically used on a short-term basis to treat anxiety and acute pain, and are not typically prescribed for long-term use. Abusing prescription drugs is just as dangerous as using illicit street drugs, and comes with similar if not the exact same consequences and dangers. Abusing painkillers like Oxycontin for instance is like abusing heroin, as the content is chemically very similar. Additionally, most individuals who abuse prescription drugs often mix these with other drugs or alcohol, creating dangerous chemical reactions in the body.
One of the problems with use of prescription drugs is the misconception that these drugs are not as dangerous than illicit drugs. According to a recent survey, 12 percent of 12th graders reported having used prescription pain medications to get high in the past 30 days. Where do kids get their prescription drugs? Most adults don't lock up their prescription medications, nor do they throw them away when they are no longer needed for their intended use. This makes them accessible for theft or misuse. A recent report shows that nearly 50 percent of teens get prescription drugs from their friends for free, 10 percent buy them from their friends and another 10 percent take them from friends without asking.
When an individual is addicted to prescription drugs, it can be just as hard to kick as an illegal street drug habit. In some cases, kicking a prescription drug habit can be even harder. Individuals can develop a physical and psychological dependence to prescription drugs which can make it seem as though it is almost impossible to quit. Because prescription drugs are legal, some individuals who abuse them live in a world of complete denial and won't admit that they even have a problem. Meanwhile, individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs will do anything to get more, even if it means destroying everything around them. This can be difficult for family and loved ones to experience, as they are so often the victims of this destructive behavior. It can also be hard to watch someone you love go further and further down into a life of addiction, with no end in sight for the misery that this can cause.
Without intervention, some individuals who abuse prescription drugs will continue their addictive behavior until they ultimately lose their life. An estimated 120,000 Americans a year go to the emergency room after overdosing on opioid painkillers. Between 1999 and 2005, the yearly mortalities from drug-overdose in the USA more than doubled from 11K to 22K. A 2006 Center for Disease control report revealed that deaths from prescription drugs (not illicit drugs) caused the overall increase in drug overdose deaths.
When an individual's prescription drug use has reached a crisis level, a prescription drug intervention can be a powerful tool that family and friends can use to save the person's life. A prescription drug intervention brings together all individuals who are concerned about the addict, to show the addict how much they are loved. The need for immediate action is what culminates in a forum of loved ones who can confront the addict and offer them the help they desperately need. A prescription drug intervention can be conducted by the loved ones themselves, or it can be overseen by a professional interventionist who is knowledgeable in addiction and the intervention process.
The prescription drug intervention process can begin immediately when it is certain that there is a problem. Don't wait until the individual has overdosed, or has hit "rock bottom". This is a common misconception and often does more harm than good. Get the addict the help they need before they reach an all-time low, and they will have a better shot at a lasting recovery. There is something that loved ones can do the moment they notice there is a problem. A prescription drug intervention can be held at any point that the addict is show obvious signs of prescription drug abuse.
One of the most tell-tale signs of prescription drug abuse is the means in which individuals are getting their prescription drugs. Prescription drug addicts will do what is called "doctor shopping", where they will go from doctor to doctor complaining of this or that ailment and thereby getting the prescriptions they need to satiate their habit. Change in friends or acquaintances, long periods of isolation, looking "dopey" or obviously incoherent or unconscious are all symptoms to look out for. Prescription drug addiction can cause the individual to do things which may be out of character, but nonetheless are necessary to support their habit. Lying and stealing and problems with the law are all part and parcel with prescription drugs abuse. Family members and friends will notice mood swings and severe behavioral changes which are all a part of the side effects of the drug, or withdrawal from the drug. If any of the above is evident, it is important to hold a prescription drug intervention right away.
Individuals who need assistance in setting up a prescription drug intervention can contact a drug rehab program in their area that can guide family and loved ones through the process. This is also a good point to start at in terms of getting information on different types of treatment facilities that are available when the individual accepts treatment in the intervention itself. A professional interventionist is someone who conducts interventions regularly and has had success in getting addicts to accept treatment. The drug rehab that you are working with can help you find an interventionist that will help prepare you for the intervention and be there when it takes place to oversee it. Work with a professional treatment counselor at the drug rehab that you have chosen to make the proper arrangements and have everything ready in advance.
A successful prescription drug intervention takes careful preparation. There a few factors that you will want to keep in mind, and a crucial one is where it will be held. The intervention should take place in a location that is distraction free, and where everyone is able to communicate without interruption. The optimal place would be someone's home for example, but definitely not in a public place where there could be frequent interruptions. Devising the list of who will participate in the prescription drug intervention is another important first step. Prescription drug intervention participants would include anyone who the addict respects and will listen to, such as family members, friends and coworkers. The intervention can have only a couple of participants, or many. The more the better, as long as the participants all have the same goal in mind which is getting the addict into treatment.
Another important step prior to the prescription drug intervention is educating all participants regarding drug addiction so they can come to a better understanding of about addiction, its causes and consequences. They should also be fully briefed on which drug rehab program has been chosen for the addict so that they can in turn brief the addict when it is time to explain about treatment. The drug interventionist or the drug rehab of choice can provide with informational brochures and other materials for intervention participants to study and discuss.
Once the participants have been chosen and a time and location for the prescription drug intervention has been determined, participants will be instructed on how to prepare the letters that they will read to the addict at the intervention. The only purpose of an intervention is to get the addict into treatment; it is not to be done in an accusatory manner as this will only give the addict a reason to leave. The letters from the participants will show concern and love, and focus on what prescription drug addiction has taken away from the addict and others, and how drugs have destroyed their lives. Each participant will offer drug rehab at the end of their letters which the addict will be asked to accept and leave for immediately.
Most individuals when confronted with truth in a prescription drug intervention will accept treatment and the process will have been a success. There is always the chance that the individual will not accept treatment, and prescription drug intervention participants should be prepared for this. In this case, participants must consider and have laid out beforehand what the consequences will be if the individual chooses to continue their destructive behavior. These consequences are often referred to as "bottom lines", and center around steps that will be taken to cut off any enabling that has been taking place as well as steps to minimize the effects that addiction is having on the innocent victims involved. Prescription drug intervention participants should only read their bottom lines if the individual refuses to go to treatment. Likewise, a prescription drug intervention participant who will be unable to follow through with or enforce their bottom lines should not participate in the intervention. Again, this too is to be done out of love and concern, as many of the participants have probably been knowingly or unknowingly doing things which contribute to enable the addicts drug habit. The addict must know that this type of enabling will no longer be allowed to occur, and the only choice is to get treatment.
A prescription drug intervention can save a life which will have otherwise been senselessly lost to abusive substances. It can be so difficult to watch someone you love fall deeper and deeper into prescription drug addiction. Using the intervention as a tool can empower family members and loved ones who would otherwise lose all hope that anything can be done about it. In the end, you are giving the addict a second chance at life and everyone else involved the ability to communicate truth and put themselves back in a position of control over addiction. Contact a professional drug treatment counselor and plan a prescription drug intervention for someone you love today.