Our rehab helps opiate addicted individuals – especially Oxy, Vicodin, and other painkillers. We have many programs for men and women who are addicted to medications. Many of our clients also abuse alcohol with opioids -an incredibly lethal combo
Prescription medications may have played a significant, beneficial role for some. But nothing could have prepared us for the shocking rise in the non-medical use and abuse of prescription meds that has erupted in the past 10 years.
The “Silent Epidemic”
The coverage and alarm for the explosion of prescription medication abuse is nowhere near adequate for the level of harm these drugs are causing. That is why we call prescription drug abuse the “silent epidemic” of the global health care system. In particular, there is rampant abuse of opioids/opiates like OxyContin/oxycodone and Percocet/Percodan as well as narcotic painkillers like Vicodin/hydrocodone. Young people have discovered these prescription meds and are using them recreationally, while mature adults are victimized by the addiction to a medication they were originally prescribed for pain and other medical conditions.
Some contributing factors leading to the incredible growth in prescription drug abuse are:
- They are legally prescribed to some people (and therefore, widely available).
- Many people who blindly trust their physician will become dependent without realizing it.
- There is less stigma attached to the abuse of prescription medications than there is for users of illegal drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine.
Deadly When Taken in Excess (or Mixed with Alcohol)
“Accidental” prescription drug deaths are at an all time high in the United States. A recent study of death certificates shows that home deaths from prescription drug overdoses have gone up dramatically in the past 20 years (from 1,132 deaths in 1983 to 12,426 in 2004). That represents an increase of more than 700 percent during that time period (when adjusted for population growth). Although awareness of this danger spikes periodically around the time of celebrity overdoses like that of Heath Ledger in early 2008, we feel that this epidemic is not getting anywhere near the attention it deserves.
Caring and Effective Rehab Programs for Prescription Meds Addiction
Visit The Landing, The Rose and Sunrise Ranch websites for more information about Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment. Sober Living by the Sea has developed individualized treatment programs that cater to various ages, genders, and drugs of choice (read our rehab programs overview to see all programs at a glance). Since 1986, we have been treating addiction at our rehab facilities in Southern California and have the knowledge and expertise to properly assess the clients who come to us needing help to reclaim their lives from the grasp of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
Prescription Drug Abusers Have Unique Needs
In general, a lot of addicts suffer from denial about the negative effects of their abuse. Prescription drug users in particular display denial that is perhaps fueled by the legal status of the substance they are dependent on (i.e., “How can I need treatment for a drug that my trusted doctor prescribed to me?”)
We have special counseling techniques to make prescription drug abusers aware of how their use is negatively affecting them and their loved ones. We then give them tools to make empowering choices that will help them live without drugs.
If you are reading this on behalf of someone you love, then you may want to read our special page with advice to the families of a drug abuser or our page about “what to say to a loved one who is addicted to drugs”.
Prescription drug users often feel overwhelmed and confused in early sobriety. They can feel depressed and despondent (particularly mature adults) and feel hopeless about their chances of recovering and living a normal life without the medication that has been their crutch for so many years. Sober Living by the Sea uses one-on-one counseling sessions and performs frequent assessments of the client’s well-being and progress in order to design the most supportive treatment program possible and give the client the best chance at recovering from chemical dependency.
The Three Classes of Addictive Prescription Drugs
The three classes of prescription medications – opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants – all have different effects on the user, but they all alter the brain’s activity and lead to dependence and addiction.
Opioids, because of their analgesic properties, are most often prescribed to treat pain. Medications that fall within this class include morphine, codeine, and related drugs. Morphine, for example, is often used before or after surgery to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, because it is less efficacious than morphine, is used for milder pain. Other opioids often prescribed to alleviate pain include propoxyphene (Darvon), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and meperidine (Demerol). In addition to their pain-relieving properties, some of these drugs – codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil), for example – can be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea.
Addiction to a particular opioid called oxycodone (commercially sold as OxyContin), has been extremely common in recent years (especially in rural areas). People are short circuiting the 12-hour time-release nature of this medication by chewing, crushing, or dissolving the pills, which enables them to experience a rapid and intense euphoria that does not occur when taken as designed and prescribed.
Once having crushed the pills, OxyContin abusers inject, inhale, or take them orally, often with other pills, marijuana, or alcohol. The active ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, is a synthetic opiate – similar to morphine – that is particularly attractive to the user and is finding increasing abuse in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
The euphoric effect produced, and the fact that many people perceive prescription pain killers as “safe,” are likely reasons that this drug is being abused in such alarming numbers. There are indicators, in fact, that OxyContin is being used by many as a substitute for heroin.
CNS Depressants and Downers
A second class of prescription medications is CNS depressants, used in the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders because they slow normal brain function. These include barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), which are used to treat anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders. Other CNS depressants include benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide HCl (Librium), and alprazolam (Xanax), which are often prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks.
Stimulants or Prescription Amphetamines
The third class of prescription medications often abused is stimulants, prescribed to treat such issues as the sleep disorder narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As the name suggests, stimulants enhance brain activity. They cause an increase in alertness, attention, and energy, accompanied by elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate and respiration. Stimulants were used historically to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments. However, as their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent, the medical use of stimulants began to wane.
Prolonged use of prescription medications eventually changes the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways, explaining why people cannot just quit on their own and why treatment in one of our rehab programs is essential.
The Landing, The Rose, and Sunrise Recovery Ranch, the three providers in the Sober Living by the Sea network, are committed to providing the highest quality care possible. With our years of experience backing our success rate of helping men and women overcome addictions to prescription drugs, we are confident that we can help you or someone you care about do the same.
Each center supplies not only the treatment methods needed to defeat an addiction to prescription medications, but The Landing, The Rose, and Sunrise Recovery Ranch also employ treatment professionals with specialized training and an unmatched dedication to seeking clients heal, recover, and thrive.
If you would like to learn more about the programming options at a Sober Living by the Sea center, feel free to contact The Landing, The Rose, or Sunrise Recovery Ranch at a time that is convenient for you. Let our devoted staff and proven effective treatment help you or a loved one leave an addiction to prescription drugs in the past once and for all.