Prescription and Addiction

At the risk of stating the obvious, for many, many people addiction to a pharmaceutical drug begins with that first prescription.  Naturally, some  people have found themselves addicted due to experimenting with other people’s medication or by using them for “recreational” purposes.  However, if stimulants, painkillers, antidepressants, sedatives and any other type of addictive medication were not so easily prescribed and so available, addiction would not have reached epidemic levels.

For instance, taking painkillers without medical need increased 75% from 2002 to 2010.  But for many people taking these medications beyond the normal prescribing period or in amounts greater than advised, the problem started earlier in the addiction cycle.  It started with a need to alleviate a real and often debilitating pain.  The painkiller is prescribed, frequently without sufficient warnings about the danger of addiction.

Stimulant, sedative and antidepressant prescribing and usage is skyrocketing as well.  Children are being put on medications at an alarming rate and at very young ages beginning the cycle of addiction and abuse earlier than ever.  In colleges one in four students has used a prescription drug, most notably stimulants, sedatives or pain relievers not prescribed to them. This drug usage and potential for addiction doesn’t even include the fact that when a student goes to  the campus doctor complaining of the stresses and worries connected with being away from home, new circumstances, new people and new expectations, the doctor is all too ready to whip out the prescription pad and “give you something for that”.  According to a recent article in Science Daily, ” use of prescription drugs — particularly painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin — is related to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in college students. ”

And it really does begin with the rampant advertising of prescription medication by the pharmaceutical industry which results in doctors viewing drugs as the obvious solution to life’s problems and patients being all to ready to grab onto the chemical solution to pain, anxiety, depression, stress and a host of other ills that currently beset members of society.

It’s interesting to note the number of prescription medications that are addictive: Antidepressants, Narcotic Analgesics (addictive painikllers), INsomnia drugs,  ADHD meds, and Antipsychotics.  While this is a boon to pharmaceutical manufacturers it’s not so good for the patients who become addicted and can find no way out.  – By the way, note that these numbers are in the millions, so for instance the 18.5 for antidepressants is actually 18.5 Million people on antidepressants.

One of the more dangerous and classes of drug is the antipsychotic.  Through lots of advertising and clever marketing drug companies have expanded the boundries of prescribing to include more and more people, including very young children.