Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pain Killer Addiction

An estimated 5.2 million people used prescription pain relievers in 2006 for non-medical reasons, up from 4.7 million in 2005, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. That's more than twice the 2.4 million people DHHS estimates use cocaine nationwide. According to statistics compiled by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, nearly one in five teens, or a staggering 4.5 million kids age 12-19, reportedly abused prescription medications to get high last year. "Opiates, a type of opioids, are a group of drugs which are medically used to relieve pain. OxyContin and Vicodin are both opiates and it is their pain relieving quality that also makes them so highly addictive," explains Phil Allen, CEO of The Pat Moore Foundation, a non-profit drug detox and treatment center in Orange County, CA, that specializes in opiate detox.

Opioids are chemicals that attach to certain receptors in the brain. They both prevent pain and stimulate the pleasure center in the brain. Allen explains that opiates serve a purpose and that's to deal with short-term pain. There are physicians who prescribe drugs chronically and after a while patients become habituated. They become dependent and if they try to stop withdrawal symptoms set in. People who are depressed, prone to anxiety or alcoholics are more likely to develop an addiction to prescription drugs like OxyContin.

"What makes painkillers so life shattering is that, unlike other drugs, the physical effects of addiction may not be as apparent, even to friends and family. But, the power of addiction is just as strong as any abused drug. The life of a painkiller addict is consumed with getting the drug. That becomes their entire life purpose, to the detriment of everything ... even their own lives."

Read the news article for more information.


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