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Prescription Drug Abuse in New Port Richey FL (727) 378-0740

Prescription drug abuse is a rapidly growing epidemic in America. The combination of easy access and the misconception that these medications are harmless is contributing heavily to the growing issue with prescription drug abuse. According to a recent report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are close to five million people in this country who are currently using prescription medication in a manner other than it was initially intended for. In order to stem the tide of this prescription drug abuse epidemic, there has to be a consistent effort in the areas of prevention and treatment.

Defining Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is defined as any act of using a prescription medication in a manner that is not consistent with its original intended use at the time it was prescribed. There are a number of ways that prescription drugs are abused. For example, a person who uses Vicodin for the feelings that it produces, instead of using it to relieve the pain from dental surgery that is now healed, is a form of drug abuse.

It is important to understand that prescription drug abuse is a strong precursor to prescription drug addiction, which has the potential to destroy lives. Once a person becomes addicted to a controlled substance, the need for a comprehensive treatment program is amplified.

There is an extensive list of prescription drugs that are abused on a regular basis; however, there are several medication types that are at the top of the list, representing a significant percentage of the total number of medications abused. These medications include:

  • Opiates, which include Vicodin, Codeine, Morphine, OxyContin and Fentanyl
  • Sedatives
  • Stimulants
  • Antidepressants

Signs and Symptom of Prescription Drug Abuse

As a general rule, the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse will depend heavily on the drug that is being abused, as the use of certain drugs produce specific physiological responses. Because the mind-altering properties of a drug are distinct, there will be distinct differences in how abuse of these drugs manifests itself. Below are some symptoms that are common among the most abused prescription drugs.

  • Opioids, such as Vicodin and OxyContin produce signs and symptoms that include, low blood pressure, decreased breathing rate, confusion, depression and poor coordination.
  • Sedatives and anti-anxiety MEDs, such as Xanax and Valium, produce drowsiness, confusion, poor judgment, involuntary and rapid movement of the eyeball and dizziness.
  • Stimulants, including Ritalin can produce weight loss, high levels of agitation, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, restlessness and impulsive behavior.

A person’s personality can also impact how they respond to any of these drugs, so some symptoms may vary slightly, but there will be some physiological and behavioral symptoms that fall within the aforementioned categories.

Health Risks of Prescription Drug Abuse

The vast majority of prescription drugs that are being abused are highly addictive, falling somewhere between a Schedule IV and Schedule I rating under the Controlled Substances Act guidelines. These schedule ratings mean that these drugs are extremely addictive, and although they have legitimate medical uses, they should be used as prescribed and with extreme caution. These medications all come with some unhealthy long-term side effects which include:

  • Organ damage and failure, especially to the liver and kidneys.
  • Developing a high tolerance to the medication, which causes the person to have to increase the dosage in order to achieve the same effects that they experienced during the initial use.
  • Decreased cognitive function

Although these medications were created for the benefit they could provide in certain specific situations, using them outside of the parameters of their intended use can consequentially produce a long list of negative effects. If you or a loved one has become dependent on prescription medications, call Drug Treatment Centers New Port Richey at (727) 378-0740.

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