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08 February
Rise of prescription drugs – Part 1: From improper use to misuse
By APAH Team

Rise of prescription drugs – Part 1: From improper use to misuse

The abuse of prescription drugs has surged tremendously in recent years in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 48 million individuals, who account for 20 percent of the American population aged 12 years or older, have used prescription drugs for non-medical purpose in their lifetime.

Opioid painkillers such as Vicodin or Oxycontin are the commonly misused prescription drugs. Besides, stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin and central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as Valium or Xanax for treating anxiety are also widely abused. People with addiction to painkillers are more likely to abuse heroin.

Difference between abuse and misuse

Drug abuse affects every section of the society. Prescription drug abuse or misuse is the intended or unintended use of prescription medications in order to get high. However, there is a fine line running between abuse and misuse in case of prescription drugs. Often, people fail to realize that they are under the influence of drugs.

Prescription abuse is the unlawful use of drugs obtained without a prescription or with a counterfeit prescription in order to achieve ecstasy and pleasure. The commonly abused prescription drugs produce euphoric effects, thereby developing tolerance over time.

Misuse of a prescription drug, on the other hand, involves the purpose of using it which is generally not intended to. The drugs are obtained using a friend’s prescription or taken at the wrong time, which increases the risk of overdose. Misuse is more common than abuse. Older adults usually misuse prescription drugs when they start taking more than the prescribed dose of their medicines.

It is worth understanding the difference between abuse and misuse. Prescription drug misuse can be dealt with by consulting a doctor and changing the treatment plan. However, it becomes difficult to treat individuals with addiction to drugs as they get dependent on the medications over time.

Veterans and prescription drug addiction

Prescription drugs become a threat when misused or abused and can lead to a more severe medical condition called addiction. The prescription drug abuse has witnessed a sharp rise among veterans in the U.S. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, the rate of prescription drug abuse among the servicemen is two-and-a-half times higher than that of the general public.

The reason for such improper use of prescription medications is the intake of different pills for different diseases. Over a certain period of time, veterans develop tolerance to the pills prescribed for different diseases like sleeping disorders, anxiety or pain.

Road to recovery

Many people think prescription drugs are safer and less risky because these are prescribed by doctors. The fact is prescription drugs are equally harmful as street drugs. Long-term prescription drug abuse can increase the body’s tolerance to a particular drug. As a result, a much higher dose is required to achieve the same effect which was previously produced at a lower dose. Remember that prescription addiction can be cured with the right treatment that includes behavioral therapy and medications.

If you or a loved one is grappling with prescription drug abuse, contact the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline for assistance. You can chat online with our representatives to know about one of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona. You may also call our 24/7 helpline at 866-692-3563 to find out the best prescription abuse treatment clinic in Arizona.


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