“The Accidental Addict”
~By Joe Herzanek
In the movie “Requium for a Dream” Sara Goldfarb (played by Ellen Burstyn), a widowed mother, finds herself hooked on diet pills. We watch as her world gradually spirals out of control.
This scenario and others that are similar, are becoming all too common. Teenagers, young mothers, parents and grandparents–all are susceptible to prescription drug addiction.
Much of today’s information on this topic deals with the problem–how widespread it is, and highlights the “celebrity of the day” who has succumbed to its consequences.
We know that you are seeking answers. For the friend or family member who is at a loss of what to do, the solutions detailed in my book Why Don’t They Just Quit? remain the same. Empathy, education, intervention and allowing consequences to happen. All apply, regardess of the type of addiction.
A prescription drug abuser is sometimes referred to as an “accidental addict.”
The Grammy Awards #1 Song of the Year 2008 was awarded to Amy Winehouse for her song “Rehab”.
Our recent news features tragic stories of singers, models, movie stars and other well-known celebrities–many who are in trouble with drug abuse, either in rehab, needing to be in rehab, just getting out of, or going back into rehab. Sadly, some are paying the ultimate price for their drug use. What we are also seeing is the abuse of prescription drugs. The famous, along with the not-so-famous, are dying while using legal, often doctor prescribed pain and stress management pills. Recently, we see more and more people switching from Oxycontin to Heroin because of the much lower cost and ease of accessibility.
Fifty years ago, a drug called Valium became popular and was immortalized in a song by the Rolling Stones called “Mother’s Little Helper”. We now know that this class of drugs called benzodiazapens (Valium, Xanax, Librum, Klonapin) are possibly the most difficult drugs to get off of—even more difficult to quit than Heroin. We’ve learned much since 1968.
Legal, tested and FDA approved drugs are just as powerful as street drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, and Methamphetamine. In fact, there is a legal form of Meth called Dysoxin, which is often prescribed for children with ADD.
Many prescribed drugs are helpful for a percentage of those who use them. The pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money from these drugs. There is nothing wrong with making money. The problem is that these drugs are over prescribed and the dependency issue and side effects are not made clear to most users.
A case in point involves one of the most powerful and addictive pain medications on the market—the drug Oxycontin. The manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, promoted the drug as effective and non-addictive. On May 10, 2007, Purdue Pharma reached a settlement, paying 1,100 patients a total of $75 million (no big deal though, since annual sales of Oxycontin have reached $1.5 Billion). (click here for more details on this case)
Advancements in technology and medicine have increased the quality of life for many people, but not for all.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
or, in the words of Amy Winehouse:
“They tried to make me go to rehab,
but I said no, no, no.”
Drug Rehab Can Be A Tough Sell To Prescription
~By Rod MacTaggart
Tens of thousands of Americans have found out the hard way that addiction to prescription drugs is every bit as dangerous and devastating as addictions to alcohol and all the infamous and illegal street drugs. For many prescription drug addicts, an intervention is needed to get them into drug rehab.
If you have a friend or loved one who is addicted to prescription drugs, that unfortunate person is not alone. Prescription drug abuse is out of control in this country, and addiction statistics are climbing out the roof. For example:
* Methadone addiction is up 29 percent
* Prescription pain reliever addiction is up 24 percent
* Anti-anxiety drug (benzodiazepine) addiction is up 19 percent.
Just because the pills were prescribed by a doctor doesn’t mean they are safe. Yet this is the kind of excuse you often hear from prescription drug addicts. Meanwhile, drug detox and rehab centers are reporting more prescription drug cases than ever before – often more than the traditional street drug addictions. Hundreds of people are dead because of prescription drugs side effects and interactions with other drugs. And there are hundreds of articles on the Internet these days describing how quickly people can get addicted to prescription drugs and how hard it is to get off them.
Most stories we’ve seen also describe how often addicts refuse to enter drug detox or rehab despite urging from friends and family members. When they try to intervene, they hit a brick wall. This isn’t because the addicted person is different from, or worse than, other addicts, or even ungrateful – they know they need help no matter what they say. But addiction to prescription drugs is often defended by the addict as “it’s just prescription drugs – they’re from the doctor!”
An experienced drug rehab intervention specialist possesses insights about the sources of addiction and the effects they have on someone’s thought processes. For example, many addicts actually don’t realize their addiction can lead to illness or death. With your help, the interventionist can get the addict to understand and accept what’s really going on with them, and become willing to enter drug rehab to deal with it.
Once your loved one has made the decision to go to drug rehab, the intervention specialist can help you find the best possible drug rehab program for your needs and budget – a drug rehab program that works, and through which your loved one can recover and rebuild his or her life, free forever from prescription drug addiction.
Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer who contributes articles on health.
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