Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the U.S. with around 16 million reported cases of misuse in the last year alone. Prescription drug abuse refers to using a medication in a way your doctor did not intend, whether prescribed or not. This could mean anything from taking a friend’s prescription painkillers for a nagging backache to snorting ground-up oxys to get high. Like any addiction, prescription drug abuse will only get progressively worse with cascading negative consequences once it has become an ongoing and compulsive habit.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

A common misconception is that prescription drugs are less harmful than illicit substances. Prescription drug misuse can have serious medical consequences. Increases in prescription drug misuse over the last 15 years are reflected in increased emergency room visits, overdose deaths, and treatment admissions for prescription drug use disorders.

  • 5.1 million people reported misusing prescription stimulants in the past year
  • 9.3 million people reported misusing prescription opioids in the past 12 months
  • 4.8 million people reported misusing benzodiazepines in the past 12 months


Successful treatment for prescription drug addiction may need to incorporate several components, including medical detoxification, inpatient treatment with counseling and medication and aftercare services.

The two main categories of drug use disorder treatment are behavioral treatments (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy) and medications. Behavioral treatments help patients stop drug use by changing unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior, and can take the form of individual, family, or group counseling.

Addiction to prescription opioids can additionally be treated with medications including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. These drugs can prevent other opioids from affecting the brain (naltrexone) or relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings (buprenorphine and methadone), helping the patient avoid relapse.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a prescription drug addiction, we can help. Profound offers programs for each step of the recovery process. Our clinicians will work with you to develop a unique treatment plan that is best suited to your needs, as no two cases are the same.



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