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Michigan Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a major problem across the United States. While illicit drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine get the most media attention, prescription drug abuse is an even bigger problem in many respects. Most prescription drug abuse is related to three distinct categories of medications: opioid painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants. While these drugs all have legitimate medical uses, they are also easily abused. Michigan prescription drug addiction often requires specialized drug treatment, including medical detox and rehabilitation measures. Treatment centers often specialize in particular therapy programs, with a combination of techniques needed to break the bonds of addiction.

How are prescription drugs abused?

Michigan prescription drug addiction is a major problem that requires a comprehensive treatment solution. Before tackling this significant problem, it’s important to understand just how prescription medications are being abused. Common methods of abuse include taking larger doses than prescribed, combining medications, buying drugs or scripts on the black market, and using a different method of administration than intended. For example, some people crush up tablets in order to inject them or snort them for a stronger effect. A practice known as ‘doctor shopping’ is also a form of prescription drug abuse, with some people visiting more than one doctor in order to obtain multiple prescriptions.

Prescription drug abuse in Michigan

Michigan prescription drug abuse is a major issue, with the misuse and overuse of prescription medications influencing overdose and addiction rates across the state. Unintentional drug deaths have quadrupled in Michigan since 1999, with opioid related overdoses having gone up a massive ten times. More people die from opioid overdoses than car crashes each year in Michigan according to a government task force lead by Gov. Rick Snyder. According to a separate report entitled ‘Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic’, Michigan has the 18th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, with 13.9 per 100,000 people dying from a drug-related overdose. Over 52 million Americans have abused prescription drugs at some point, with the United States consuming 75 percent of the global supply of prescription medications despite accounting for just 5 percent of the global population.

Categories of prescription drugs

Opioids are the most widely abused class of prescription medications, including the naturally occurring opiates codeine and morphine and the synthetic medications hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone and others. Sedatives, also called central nervous system (CNS) depressants or tranquilizers depending on the context, are the second most widely abused class of prescription drugs. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are both classed as sedatives, with common benzo medications including Librium, Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, and Serax among others. Stimulants are the third most widely abused drug class, including Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta among others.   

Opioid abuse and addiction

Opioid medications are some of the most commonly used drugs in the world. Opioids are classified as CNS depressant and painkillers, with these medications largely taken to provide relief from acute and chronic pain conditions. Available as both single and mulch-ingredient medications, opioids are the most widely abused class of medications on the market. People abuse opioids to induce feelings of euphoria and relaxation, with repeated exposure to these drugs often leading to physical and psychological dependence. A medical detox period is often needed to alleviate these symptoms, followed by a comprehensive rehabilitation and aftercare regime.

Sedative abuse and addiction

Sedative drugs are the second most widely abused class of prescription medications. Sedatives are CNS depressants much like opioids, with these drugs also associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon discontinuation. Benzodiazepines are mostly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and sleep-related conditions such as insomnia. For example, benzos are widely used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder among others.  Benzos are also widely abused for their potent sedative and hypnotic properties, with some people combining benzos with alcohol and other depressants in the dangerous practice of multi-drug abuse. A medical detox period is normally recommended to treat sedative dependence, followed by rehab and aftercare programs.

Stimulant abuse and addiction

Stimulants are taken medically to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some forms of obesity. These drugs are also widely abused to induce feelings of energy and mental focus, both for recreational and performance enhancement reasons. Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are sometimes available on the black market as an alternative to methamphetamine and illegal amphetamine products. People with legitimate psychiatric conditions have also been known to abuse stimulants by misusing or over using their medications. Unlike opioids and sedatives, stimulants do not produce a physical withdrawal syndrome upon discontinuation, with medications largely ineffective and rehabilitation measures mostly centered on behavioral therapy programs.

Treatment for Michigan prescription drug addiction

Treatment for prescription drug abuse largely depends on the substance and extent of addiction. The drug treatment process typically starts with crisis intervention, with the friends and family members close to the drug addict getting together in an effort to get them into treatment. Medical detox is then initiated, especially for physically addictive drugs such as opioids and sedatives. While detox helps to enable the cessation of problematic drug use, it does little to address the issues that surround addiction. People who go through detox alone are prone to relapse, with rehab and aftercare support systems always advised.

Rehabilitation programs are always recommended following detox, including long-term medication therapies and behavioral therapy support. Common behavioral therapy modalities include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), contingency management, family therapy and others. While these programs all look at the issue of addiction from a different angle, they all utilize motivational, behavioral, or cognitive methods that attempt to alter problematic behavior patterns.  Aftercare programs follow rehab, including 12-step support groups, SMART Recovery, sober living communities, and programs dedicated to relapse prevention.

If you or a loved one is considering addiction treatment, do not hesitate to pick up the phone for professional help. Recovery and sobriety start here.