The Challenge of Prescription Drug Abuse

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Prescription drug abuse is finding its way into the news just about every day. You can’t seem to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without reading about it.

The latest? A recent article in USA Today revealed that a prescription drug named, Opana, is taking the place of OxyContin as the most sought after narcotic on the streets of the U.S.  Why? Unfortunately,  when manufacturers of OxyContin altered their formula to make the drug harder to crush, snort or dissolve, individuals suffering from addiction simply moved to the next drug.

Reformulating prescription opioids have helped slow prescription drug abuse, not it has not stopped it.  In early 2011, more than 95% of prescriptions were being filled with reformulated OxyContin.  At the same time Opana use grew swiftly and sharply and before long authorities were issuing alters about Opana.  In June 2012, Opana’s manufacturer release a reformulated pill, which is more difficult to crush, split or tamper with.  In the interim, as the old formula gets taken off the market, law enforcement officials and healthcare providers are looking for what will become the next choice for prescription drug abuse.

The Challenge of Prescription Drug Abuse

American families and communities have been hit hard by prescription drug abuse which often starts innocently.  Individuals who suffer from prescription drug abuse may start as the result of pain treatment for an injury or after surgery. Unfortunately these drugs can be so addictive that a person cannot stop.  Even if their doctor stops writing prescriptions, inexperienced or unethical doctors, pain clinics, or drug dealers throughout the country are meeting the demand.

In the mind of an addict, pain pills are the perfect drug. In many cases, an authority has prescribed them, so many people feel “safe” taking these drugs. As an individual’s life becomes consumed by the substance abuse and addiction, they can maintain their denial due to the authoritative presence of the prescribing physician in the equation. Who is to argue that their pain doesn’t require medication if their doctor agrees that it does? This relationship can give legitimacy to the addict’s need for drugs and make it more difficult to recognize that there is a problem.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Urology, researchers found that the, “Over prescription of narcotics is common.” The medical community has a big role to play in understanding prescription drug abuse and how to counter it. The system as it is now is over-treating pain with medication, and finding it difficult to control. Generally, a person who wants to continue their prescription drug abuse can find legitimate ways to do so through doctors, clinics and healthcare providers.

The options for stopping their supply can be limited, especially from the outside.  Patient protection laws ensure a patients privacy, making it difficult for doctors or pharmacists to know how often or how long a person has been using  a prescription drug.

Governments around the country are working to combat prescription drug abuse with events and awareness campaigns.  Check with your local authorities to see if they are holding a disposal event where you can remove old, unused prescription drugs from your home.

If you or someone you love is suffering from prescription drug abuse, seek help from a qualified professional.  Addiction is a treatable disease and many people live healthy and productive lives after rehab.