“Use Only as Directed.” Those familiar words from the label of a prescription pill bottle are the simplest of instructions—certainly simpler to understand than most instructions for opening the bottle.
To disregard those simple words, however, is to invite serious complications into your life—those which arise from a dependency on prescription medications. The kind of complications that can destroy careers and relationships; that bring on serious side effects, from anxiety and sleep problems, to severe depression, suicidal impulses, and seizures.
Just as serious, though not always evident, are the “second hand” or “contagious” side effects of addiction, in which the people in an addict’s life can become, in the words of Carrier Clinic®’s Steve Drzewoszewski, “just as sick as the addict…a family member can become addicted to trying to ‘fix’ that troubled person in their life.”
For most people, it can be a little bit difficult to wrap one’s head around. After all, prescription drugs are commonly found in nearly everyone’s home. Prescription-strength medications are as close at hand as a trip to the supermarket. Family members seldom have a problem with “lending” a pill to an ailing relative. And many individuals who develop an addiction began by feeling safe in the knowledge that their personal physician recommended the meds in the first place.
The unfortunate truth is that many medical professionals are unable to closely monitor their patients’ medications once they leave the office with a prescription. Such factors as “multisourcing” of prescriptions from numerous practitioners can escape a doctor’s notice.
Then there are those users who knowingly obtain powerful opiates and other strongly regulated meds to use in a way that they were never intended. Even in situations where Vicodin and other drugs are not “illegal” at the point where they’re obtained by the user, putting a prescription medication in the hands of someone to whom it was NOT prescribed is an illegal activity—one with some often unforeseen consequences.
A Bitter Pill; An Rx for Help
The numbers can be staggering, and perhaps a little surreal—as much as 20 percent of Americans have used prescription meds for non-medical reasons at least once. Numbers that show more teens abusing opioid painkillers and other prescription drugs than cocaine, meth and heroin combined. Numbers which indicate that prescription drugs claim more American lives each year than car accidents.
Behind those numbers are even more devastating statistics, about the hundreds of people right here in New Jersey who die each year from misuse of these medications:
- Opioid Painkillers: Vicodin, Oxycodone, Oxycontin
- Barbituates: Nembutal, Seconal
- Other Prescription Meds: Adderall, Percocet, Ritalin, Xanax
- Over-the-Counter drugs: cough medications, sleep aids, antihistamines
Long before the mainstream media ever started reporting on the prescription drug abuse epidemic, the Blake Recovery Center™ was already on our way to helping thousands of people who have suffered from a dependency on prescribed meds. The key is to put the focus on treating people with addictions to common opioid painkillers (such as Vicodin and Oxycontin) through a medically monitored detox program—and to address the mental impact of prescription drug addiction, with a program of residential rehab, outpatient services and continuous counseling.
The goal, just as it’s been for the past 30 years, is to equip every individual with the tools they need to get well in the here and now and provide a personal plan to prevent relapse in the years to come.
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