Prescription drugs are generally considered safe drugs. After all, they’re prescribed by a doctor for a specific reason, so how much harm can they really cause?
Prescription drugs are the second most commonly abused substance in the United States, second only to marijuana. This is because compared to other drugs, prescription drugs are extremely easy to get your hands on.
According to the CDC, almost 50% of people in the US have used a prescription drug within the last 30 days. This means that 1 out of every 2 people has direct access to prescription drugs.
Why Would Someone Use Prescription Drugs?
There are many reasons why someone would choose to use prescription drugs. One of the most prevalent is the idea that prescription drugs are safer to use than illegal drugs.
There is some truth to this statement in that you don’t have to worry about the substance being contaminated. However, contamination is not the only thing you have to worry about with prescription drugs. Many other dangers come along with drug use that have nothing to do with where you got the drug from.
Prescription Drugs Are Safer
If you use a prescription drug that you’ve obtained directly from a doctor you do not have to worry that the drug was contaminated with other substances. With street drugs, there is always the risk that someone wasn’t honest and that the drug you’re purchasing has been mixed with other dangerous filler substances.
However, the risks of addiction and overdose are the same as prescription drugs and other recreational drugs. That does not change, you can overdose on a prescribed opioid just as easily as one that you illegally purchased.
7 Ways You Can Get Addicted To Prescription Drugs
1. Unintentional Addiction
This problem is most common with people who abuse prescription opioids. Unintentional addiction most frequently occurs when someone was involved in an accident or had surgery and was prescribed opioids for the pain.
Opioids can be difficult to wean off of and if not done soon enough or correctly it is very easy to become addicted to these drugs.
2. Ease Of Access
The final reason that someone may decide to abuse prescription drugs is that they are much easier to obtain than other illegal substances. With roughly 50% of the US population having direct access to prescription drugs most people already have access to them in their homes.
Since most prescription drug costs are covered by insurance you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get them. This also makes them easier to obtain for many people that normally wouldn’t be able to afford drugs.
3. Mental Illness
For those that are mentally ill, addiction to prescription drugs can be an even bigger problem. If someone chooses to be medicated they will be given access to substances that, when abused, can produce results similar to those of illegal drugs.
For someone who is mentally ill, drug use can also provide them relief from their symptoms. Feelings of depression and anxiety can be improved. However, the comedown is often worse and brings the symptoms back with a vengeance making it so that the person feels like they have to continue taking the drug over and over again.
4. Similar Effects To Illegal Drugs
Although prescription drugs are developed to help with specific medical conditions or symptoms, when used incorrectly they can produce similar effects to those of illegal drugs.
For example, stimulants, which are commonly used in the treatment of ADHD, create effects similar to those of cocaine when used in excess amounts. Opioids, a type of pain medication, can work like heroin and cause the person to feel very relaxed and happy.
Since the effects are so similar someone may decide to take advantage of the drugs that are already available to them not realizing that prescription drugs can be just as addictive as illegal drugs.
5. Early Exposure
If you’ve grown up around prescription drugs you are far more likely to become addicted to them. The earlier exposure to a substance occurs, the more likely the person is to become addicted to the substance as an adult.
This is because early exposure to the substance, even a prescription drug, primes the brain to crave that substance. A child’s brain also has more plasticity meaning that it is more susceptible to change based on the stimuli that it receives.
One of the biggest ways that people become addicted to prescription drugs, and drugs in general, is by experimenting with them. A lot of the time, people believe that you will not get addicted to something the first time you try it and that it’s okay to experiment. However, for some people, one time is enough to become addicted.
Once you are addicted to a substance it is very difficult to stop using that substance without professional help.
7. Family History
When you look at the factors that increase the chances that someone will be addicted to drugs as an adult, one of the most important factors is if their parents used drugs.
Children that grow up around drug use are significantly more likely to become addicted to drugs as adults. This is because they grew up seeing it used as a coping mechanism, social tool, or recreational activity and are likely to continue perceiving it that way.
With almost half of the United States population having used a prescription drug in the last thirty days, it is easier than ever to get our hands on them.
There are many reasons why someone may become addicted to prescription drugs. However, the most common story is that someone was prescribed prescription painkillers after an accident or surgery and became addicted to them.
If you have become addicted to [prescription] drugs it’s important that you don’t let the shame associated with this kind of addiction get in the way of your receiving help. To learn more about the options available to you and the best ways to recover from prescription drug abuse visit Achieve Wellness Recovery at https://achievewellnessrecovery.com/.