Prescription Drug Abuse – Highly Effective Residential Program


Our rehab helps opiate addicted individuals – especially Oxy, Vicodin, and other painkillers. We have many programs for men and women who are addicted to medications. Many of our clients also abuse alcohol with opioids -an incredibly lethal combo

Prescription medications may have played a significant,
beneficial role for some. But nothing could have prepared us for the shocking
rise in the non-medical use and abuse of prescription meds that has
erupted in the past 10 years.

Be sure to take our prescription drug addiction quiz to learn more about the symptoms of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

The “Silent Epidemic”

The
coverage and alarm for the explosion of prescription medication abuse
is nowhere near adequate for the level of harm these drugs are causing.
That is why we call prescription drug abuse the “silent epidemic” of
the global health care system. In particular, there is rampant abuse of
opioids/opiates like OxyContin/oxycodone and Percocet/Percodan as well as narcotic painkillers like Vicodin/hydrocodone. Young people have discovered these prescription meds and are using them recreationally, while mature adults are victimized by the addiction to a medication they were originally prescribed for pain and other medical conditions.

Some contributing factors leading to the incredible growth in prescription drug abuse are:

  • They are legally prescribed to some people (and therefore, widely available).
  • Many people who blindly trust their physician will become dependent without realizing it.
  • There
    is less stigma attached to the abuse of prescription medications than
    there is for users of illegal drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine.

Deadly When Taken in Excess (or Mixed with Alcohol)

“Accidental” prescription drug deaths
are at an all time high in the United States. A recent study of death
certificates shows that home deaths from prescription drug overdoses
have gone up dramatically in the past 20 years (from 1,132 deaths in
1983 to 12,426 in 2004). That represents an increase of more than 700
percent during that time period (when adjusted for population growth).
Although awareness of this danger spikes periodically around the time
of celebrity overdoses like that of Heath Ledger in early 2008, we feel
that this epidemic is not getting anywhere near the attention it
deserves.

Caring and Effective Rehab Programs for Prescription Meds Addiction

Sober
Living by the Sea has developed individualized treatment programs that
cater to various ages, genders, and drugs of choice (read our rehab programs
overview to see all programs at a glance). With over 20 years of
experience treating addiction at our rehab facilities in Southern
California, we have the knowledge and expertise to properly assess the
clients who come to us needing help to reclaim their lives from the
grasp of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

Prescription Drug Abusers Have Unique Needs

In
general, a lot of addicts suffer from denial about the negative effects
of their abuse. Prescription drug users in particular display denial
that is perhaps fueled by the legal status of the substance they are
dependent on (i.e., “How can I need treatment for a drug that my
trusted doctor prescribed to me?”)

We have special
counseling techniques to make prescription drug abusers aware of how
their use is negatively affecting them and their loved ones. We then
give them tools to make empowering choices that will help them live
without drugs.

If you are reading this on behalf of someone you love, then you may want to read our special page with advice to the families of a drug abuser or our page about “what to say to a loved one who is addicted to drugs” .

Prescription
drug users often feel overwhelmed and confused in early sobriety. They
can feel depressed and despondent (particularly mature adults) and feel
hopeless about their chances of recovering and living a normal life
without the medication that has been their crutch for so many years.
Sober Living by the Sea uses one-on-one counseling sessions and
performs frequent assessments of the client’s well-being and progress
in order to design the most supportive treatment program possible and
give the client the best chance at recovering from chemical dependency.

The Three Classes of Addictive Prescription Drugs

The
three classes of prescription medications – opioids, central nervous
system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants – all have different effects
on the user, but they all alter the brain’s activity and lead to
dependence and addiction.

Opioids

Opioids,
because of their analgesic properties, are most often prescribed to
treat pain. Medications that fall within this class include morphine,
codeine, and related drugs. Morphine, for example, is often used before
or after surgery to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, because it is less
efficacious than morphine, is used for milder pain. Other opioids often
prescribed to alleviate pain include propoxyphene (Darvon), hydrocodone
(Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and meperidine (Demerol). In addition to their pain-relieving properties, some of these drugs – codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil), for example – can be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea.

Addiction to a particular opioid called oxycodone (commercially sold as OxyContin),
has been extremely common in recent years (especially in rural areas).
People are short circuiting the 12-hour time-release nature of this
medication by chewing, crushing, or dissolving the pills, which enables
them to experience a rapid and intense euphoria that does not occur
when taken as designed and prescribed.

Once having
crushed the pills, OxyContin abusers inject, inhale, or take them
orally, often with other pills, marijuana, or alcohol. The active
ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, is a synthetic opiate – similar to
morphine – that is particularly attractive to the user and is finding
increasing abuse in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

The euphoric effect produced, and the fact that many people perceive
prescription pain killers as “safe,” are likely reasons that this drug
is being abused in such alarming numbers. There are indicators, in
fact, that OxyContin is being used by many as a substitute for heroin.

CNS Depressants and Downers

A second class of prescription medications is CNS depressants,
used in the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders because they slow
normal brain function. These include barbiturates, such as
mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), which are
used to treat anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders. Other CNS
depressants include benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium),
chlordiazepoxide HCl (Librium), and alprazolam (Xanax), which are often
prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks.

Stimulants or Prescription Amphetamines

The
third class of prescription medications often abused is stimulants,
prescribed to treat such issues as the sleep disorder narcolepsy and
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As the name suggests,
stimulants enhance brain activity. They cause an increase in alertness,
attention, and energy, accompanied by elevated blood pressure and
increased heart rate and respiration. Stimulants were used historically
to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological
disorders, and a variety of other ailments. However, as their potential
for abuse and addiction became apparent, the medical use of stimulants
began to wane.

Prolonged use of prescription medications
eventually changes the brain in fundamental and long-lasting ways,
explaining why people cannot just quit on their own and why treatment
in one of our rehab programs is essential.