Signs Your Loved One May Be Abusing Prescription Drugs

Signs Your Loved One May Be Abusing Prescription DrugsWho would have guessed that prescription medications, which have been such a blessing to the modern world, would become a source of unhealthy addiction? The national Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called abuse of prescription drugs an epidemic problem in this country. Sources in the know say that close to five million Americans misuse prescription pain relievers and they expect that number to increase. The alarming figure does not include abuse of anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and other popularly prescribed medications.

The problem of prescription drug abuse is a serious one. Addiction treatment centers report that admissions for help with prescription drug abuse has catapulted up by 155 percent since 1992. Since these drugs are prescribed by a physician and are handed out by a pharmacist, many may not realize just how dangerously addictive the drugs actually are. Prescription painkillers are the most often abused and they are genuinely addicting. Abuse of prescription painkillers can be just “as tough to overcome as addiction to any “street” drug.

The problem is widespread, but not everyone knows how to recognize when a loved one has become addicted to a prescription medication. Here are a few helpful ways to recognize if there is a problem:

  1. Non-prescribed usage. Prescription painkillers are meant for a specific reason and for a set period of time. They are usually prescribed following a surgical procedure or to help manage diseases which involve chronic pain. If the person is using prescription painkillers to relax, fall asleep or face stress, this is a red flag for abuse.
  2. Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor. If your loved one has several prescriptions for similar medications written by more than one physician, then you have reason to investigate further. Doctor shopping is a common habit among those who abuse prescription drugs. The term refers to visiting multiple doctors’ offices in order to gain several prescriptions for the very same or very similar medication – usually painkillers.
  3. Getting prescription drugs from someone other than a doctor. If you notice that medications in the home are disappearing too rapidly, don’t assume that they spilled or that you took more than you realized. In all likelihood, someone else in the house is helping themselves to your prescription. Most people who are addicted to prescription painkillers don’t get them from the doctor. Instead they most often report getting drugs from family or friends. They may pay friends for their drugs or may just ask them to share. Using drugs obtained from someone other than a doctor is a sign of drug abuse.

It may be hard to confront your loved one with your concerns or suspicions, but addiction is a potentially life-threatening problem which dare not be ignored. Concerned parents, spouses, friends or extended family members need to keep an informed eye anytime that prescription drugs, especially painkillers, are being used.