Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the U.S. with around 16 million reported cases of misuse in the last year alone.
What Is Prescription Drug Addiction?
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.
What Causes Prescription Drug Abuse?
There are many reasons why people choose to take prescription drugs and later build abusive habits. In many cases, a prescription drug problem starts out with a simple need that prescription drugs seem to fill. Drugs can provide comfort in the moment, which is why it’s often so easy to develop a dependency on them.
In addition, prescription drugs can be easier to get than illegal narcotics. The accessibility of these drugs can make addiction more of a possibility if someone feels that they have easy access to as much of a substance as they want.
Furthermore, many people take prescription drugs and develop addictions in an effort to cope. Trauma, mental health issues, and other factors can make a person more prone to prescription drug abuse.
Why Is Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise?
Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue that keeps rising in prevalence. There are several key reasons why abuse of prescription drugs is becoming more and more common, including:
- The use of prescription drugs among young people is a key factor that contributes to rising rates of overall drug abuse.
- It can be relatively easy to hide a prescription drug problem from others. The perceived ability to use drugs in secret without loved ones knowing makes prescription drugs a particularly attractive substance for those in vulnerable positions.
- Prescription drugs are readily available through a variety of different avenues.
How Can Prescription Drugs Be Abused?
There are several different ways that prescription drugs can be abused, including:
- Using someone else’s prescription medication. This is the simplest form of prescription drug abuse and involves using drugs that you aren’t permitted by a doctor or psychiatrist to use.
- Using prescription drugs in ways outside of their intended uses. A common example of this form of prescription drug abuse would be grinding up and snorting pills.
- Taking prescription drugs excessively. In many cases, people who regularly abuse prescription drugs do so by taking doses that are much higher than what is recommended. This type of addiction can be incredibly dangerous and may lead to an overdose.