Prescription drug abuse is a silent but deadly threat. Prescription drugs are now abused at the very same level as any other illicit street drug in fact, and prescriptions drugs are the second most commonly abused type of drug in the nation just behind marijuana. A literally millions of people currently abusing prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the U.S., meaning they either have a prescription and misuse the drug or don't have a prescription and take it for recreational purposes to get high. The fact that there are nearly a million companies which sell prescription drugs online and will send them anywhere doesn't help the matter.
Opioids, or prescription pain killers, are among the most abused prescription drugs. Many individuals become hooked on pain killers through no fault of their own, following a surgery or injury for example. They may have a legitimate prescription, but when it comes time to stop taking the drug it can be difficult if not impossible to quit and they soon find themselves attempting to get more. This is because opioid drugs produce similar if not the same effects in some cases as the opiate street drug heroin. There are actually cases of heroin addicts becoming more inclined to abuse prescription opioids instead of heroin, because they are easier to obtain. And just like heroin, individuals become dependent to prescription opioids very quickly and will need them every day simply to function. If they don't get their fix they will experience uncomfortable and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms which just causes them to seek out and take more prescription opioids.
Another class of prescription drugs which are often abused is known as benzodiazepines, or tranquilizers. These types of drugs are usually used to treat and manage anxiety. While abusing benzodiazepines will not necessarily result in effects or the type of high as drugs in the opioid class, they do produce their own high when abused which can be addictive. Many individuals find it very difficult to function without benzodiazepines once they have become dependent to them through abuse, and even through legitimate use. Even in individuals with a prescription for these drugs, the withdrawal symptoms that occur as a result of sudden cessation are not only unbearable but life threatening in some cases.
Unfortunately, the "pill popping" generation of today is led by the misconception that prescription drugs are safe or safer than illicit drugs and the rates of abuse show a true epidemic. Just because prescription drugs have legitimate use in medicine does not make them any less dangerous in terms of misuse and abuse. In fact, abuse of prescription drugs is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than abuse of illicit street drugs. To compound the dangers and risks, individuals who abuse prescription drugs often mix them with other drugs or alcohol which can be life threatening.
Prescription drug abuse which leads to addiction can be just as difficult to kick as a heroin or cocaine habit, and in some cases can be even more challenging. Most will simply go on for years doctor shopping and becoming involved in all manner of illegal activity including health insurance fraud and even violent crime to continue their habit. Without intervention, prescription drug abuse is a path towards total destruction and even death. This doesn't have to be the case however, as there are many effective drug rehab programs which not only treat illicit street drug and alcohol addiction but also treat prescription drug addiction.
Drug rehab for prescription drug abuse follows the exact same guidelines as treatment for any other addiction, because it is the same as any other addiction in many ways. The only exception is that withdrawal from certain types of prescription drugs can cause serious health problems or death, and no one should ever stop using these drugs unless in a professional drug detox facility or drug rehab. This will ensure that the individual has the proper medical care and is taken off the prescription drug at a rate that will not induce life threatening or dangerous complication.
Following the drug detox process, prescription drug abuse is treated through education, counseling and other known effective treatment processes which bring the individual to a point where they no longer are dependent to prescription drugs physically or psychologically. This entails honing in on whatever triggered their abuse of prescription drugs, and developing more effective coping skills for life so they never have to turn to prescription drugs to cope or mask life's issues in the future. Because this can take several weeks and even months in some cases, prescription drug abuse is best treated in a residential or inpatient drug rehab program which requires a stay of at least 90 days.