Prescription Pill Abuse: An Epidemic

Leftovers are cleared out and we have started to switch gears as we head into the holiday season. As November comes to a close and December is at our doorstep, the next few weeks can be a wonderful, angst-ridden, fascinating time of year for many. It can also be off the charts for others where grief and sadness have the ability to kick you to the ground and do a number on your emotions. Unfortunately, the holidays also see an increase in dabbling, gravitating or indulging in substance abuse. It’s not a fun time of year for everyone. Prescription pill abuse, particularly pain pills, is an area of grave concern.

prescription pill abuse…

It’s uncomfortable. The reality is the vast majority of us either have a loved one or someone that we care for who struggles with some form of addiction. In recent years, the prevalence of dependence upon percocet and other forms of painkillers has exploded. It’s an epidemic. I believe many have subconsciously forged a disconnect between pills and the potential for addiction. This has young and old rationalizing use, because a pill appears less harmful than a dime bag of cocaine or heroine. Assuming this mentality is having serious repercussions for individuals and our society; percocet addiction can be swift and crippling.

What prescription pill addiction is and how to treat it…

They’re accessible and in every community. Accessibility is within a fingertip’s reach starting at home, in our doctor’s offices; and it is destroying families. I’ve had students share how family members were prescribed oxycontin or percodan for severe pain relief or surgery relief and then unintentionally became addicted. That can be as common as having your wisdom teeth removed, a sports injury, lower back pain, etc. Pain is uncomfortable and medicine can work wonders. But when dealing with an untamed beast such as oxycodone and other forms of percocets, it can be sneaky, and dependence can sweep in when least suspecting.

Pain medication can alleviate discomfort, resulting in making pain more manageable. However, the issue lies with genetics, addictive personalities, the dosage, frequency of intake and so on. We trust our physicians and that is a good thing, but we must advocate for both ourselves and our children. What are you taking? Is there a form of medication that is not as potent or less of a likelihood for addiction? If you are taking it, how often are you thinking about the medication? Is it becoming all-consuming? Advocate for you and your family, because if we let our guard down the potential for harm is great. It’s ok to ask questions to your family physician. It’s ok to have your family medications locked in a safe place. As a community, it is critical that we are proactive instead of reactive to a problem that is impacting an increasing number of individuals.

Here are a few ways to be proactive against misuse of prescription meds:

  • Keep current medications in a safe, secure place.

  • Discard medications no longer being used at your local drop off site (such as your local police barracks)

  • Dialogue with your kids about pills. Do they know what they are? What they do? Be aware of what they know and don’t know.

  • Hop on google, webmd, or and educate yourself on different types of prescription pills, what they look like and what they do. Focus on percocets, anti-anxiety and depression meds since these are most prevalently abused.

  • Speak with your family physician about the potency of what you or your child is taking. Do they counteract with other medicines? Maybe there are there less potent forms of the medicines being prescribed that are still effective? Be aware of the duration of time the meds are being prescribed for. Ask any questions you may have, there is power in knowledge.

There really is power in knowing, learning and asking questions. If you have someone you are concerned about, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging them to get help. Support comes in a thousand forms because we are not meant to face these challenges alone. Nothing good can from remaining silent and ambivalent about an issue that has the ability to snuff out someone we love both emotionally and physically. It’s scary to think of everything that is out there. But the more we know the better chance we have of preventing and deterring this from arriving on our own doorstep.

Peace, love and goodness!

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