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Prescription Drug Addiction in Arkansas
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The National Institutes of Health report that more than 2 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Prescription drug addiction in Arkansas is emblematic of the national problem. Although Arkansas has instated a “Monitor, Secure, Dispose” program that is meant to help state residents keep dangerous drugs out of the hands of those who would abuse these medications, prescription drug addiction in Arkansas continues to be a significant problem. Although people wind up on the path to prescription drug abuse and addiction for a wide array of reasons, they can all successfully manage their addiction by seeking out treatment at an Arkansas addiction rehab center.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines prescription drug abuse as “the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited.” Taking someone else’s prescription or increasing the dose of your own prescription without your doctor’s knowledge or approval are forms of prescription drug abuse. Addictive prescription medications like painkillers and stimulants are associated with a high rate of abuse. Classified in accordance with their addictive properties, these drugs can be as dangerous and deadly as illicit narcotics–and certainly as addictive in many cases.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction in Arkansas

Prescription drug addiction in Arkansas is evidenced by some recent startling statistics issued by the White House Arkansas Drug Control Update, which asserts that Arkansas is one of the top-ten states for the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in the nation. While the state does have some legislation in the works regarding prescription drug monitoring programs, these programs are not currently operational, and the state’s “Give Back,” while successfully able to collect literal tons of medications, is not enough to curb prescription drug addiction in Arkansas.

The Times Record reported that there is a decline in prescription drug abuse (10.4 percent

in 2010 down to 7.9 percent in 2012) since the collection of “23.5 tons” of medications, the Trust for America’s Health reports that Arkansas is still has the 25th  highest drug overdose mortality rate in the nation—and most of these are due to prescription drug overdoses. Prescription drug overdose remains a critical issue for the state, but Arkansas’s addiction treatment centers can help.

What Are the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

In Arkansas, painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Opiate painkillers are extremely addictive. Pain relieving medications derived from the opium poppy (also the indirect source of heroin–which is derived from morphine), are often used to produce a state of euphoria. Some people, on the other hand, became addicted to these drugs after they were prescribed them for legitimate medical reasons. Opiates, even prescription opiates, are extremely addictive and people can form powerful dependencies on them that are nearly impossible to overcome without treatment.

Other commonly abused classes of drugs include sedatives and stimulants. Tranquilizers like Xanax, Valium and Ambien are powerful medications that, like opiates, have addictive properties. Once a person becomes tolerant of a dosage level, they may be inclined to increase their dose. Once this type of tolerance and pattern of abuse is established, addiction is just around the corner.

Examples of Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

OxyContin

OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone, a synthetic opiate that is prescribed to treat pain. Classed as a Schedule II narcotic, oxycodone is highly effective for pain treatment, but is, nonetheless, extremely addictive. Signs of oxycodone addiction include mood swings, dizziness, sweating, paranoia, hallucinations, and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not taken in time to satisfy the dependency. Doctor shopping or lying to obtain the drug are some behavioral signs of OxyContin addiction.

Ambien

Ambien is a sedative that is commonly prescribed to people suffering from sleep problems. Yet Ambien is addicted and carries a high risk for addiction even in short term use. If you or someone you love is taking Ambien but experiences dangerous “amnesia” episodes or exhibits signs like loss of coordination, loss of appetite, or shakiness, there could be a problem. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like panic attacks, anxiety, sweating, tremors, and worsening insomnia should prompt you to seek treatment.

Adderall

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is mainly used to treat sufferers of ADHD. The drug speeds up bodily processes. Some people abuse it to stay awake for longer periods of time. Abusing this drug can result in such side effects as nausea, anxiety, restlessness, headache, dry mouth and changes in sex drive. Serious side effects can include aggression, paranoia, and even mania. Anyone abusing this drug is at risk for developing an addiction to it.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

People who are addicted to prescription drugs often exhibit dependencies that are psychological and behavioral as well as physical. Comprehensive treatment targets these dependencies to help the sufferer effectively manage their addiction. To combat the physical dependency on each class of addictive prescription drugs—painkillers, stimulants, and sedatives—medical detox is required. During this process, addiction sufferers are slowly and safely weaned from the addictive substance in question. This can take days or even weeks.

In addition to detox, addiction treatment centers in Arkansas also offer traditional treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and group counseling to treat the mental and behavioral aspects of addiction, but they may also recommend alternative treatment plans like family therapy, which is can be especially effective for teens and young adults struggling with prescription drug addiction.

Sometimes, however, pharmaceutical treatment is recommended for people suffering from certain types of prescription drug addiction. For instance, people who are addicted to opiates are often treated with methadone. According to Harvard Medical School, about 25 percent of people who undergo methadone maintenance will remain on the medication indefinitely. Roughly 50 percent use the medication on and off. Sometimes drug replacement treatment is advised for people addicted to Ambien as well.

If you or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs or is suffering from addiction to these substances, it’s essential to seek treatment. Overdose is always a risk, but mental and physical health will deteriorate with a prolonged addiction to prescription or illicit drugs. Arkansas drug treatment centers can help you overcome this serious health problem.