Prescription Drug Abuse is a Growing Trend
CHICAGO, July 30, 2015
Prescription drug abuse is a growing trend. Following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The process of becoming dependent on prescription drugs can begin easily and often, innocently. "Sometimes, people don't finish their medication and might give it away to others who appear to need it, or the person's children or other family members may come across it," explains Carl Scroggins, Overdose Prevention Programs Supervisor at Gateway.
These drugs are often perceived as safer than illicit drugs but, when abused, pose serious health risks including overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that more people die from prescription opioid overdose than all other drugs combined.
"Abuse of pain medications may start when a person takes them for an injury or medical condition that causes chronic pain. It can get out of control. Over time, people develop a tolerance level to opiates which often prompts them to increase their dosages," says Cynthia Miles, LCSW, Clinical Supervisor, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers.
What Can You Do?
It is important to safeguard and keep track of prescription drugs. Following are steps you can immediately take to limit access to your prescription drugs:
- Safeguard all drugs at home, including over-the-counter medicines. Conceal, monitor quantities and control access.
- If you have children, set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider's advice and dosages.
- Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines.
- Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.
- Properly dispose of old or unused medicines.
Alternatives to Managing Pain
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment's H.O.P.E. program is a voluntary program designed to help people find alternatives to taking pain medications and/or narcotics. The program name acronym stands for Healthy Options to Treat Pain Effectively. Offered at the Gateway Treatment Center in Carbondale, Illinois, the H.O.P.E. program educates attendees on ways to take a more holistic approach to their health.
Provided in a group format, the program's goals include helping people gain an understanding of their pain, and how to identify the ways in which it goes further than the physical sensations to include emotional pain and cognitive disorders. Once people can identify this, they can use this knowledge to begin to alter their thinking.
Participants learn how to use techniques designed to improve their emotional pain, which should in turn help to decrease the perception of physical pain. Daily grounding and coping skills are practiced, which are ideally, performed even when a person's pain level is not high. By being consistent, a life change that is conducive to self-awareness and pain management is reinforced.
About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.
Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and
the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.
Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).
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