Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, globally. It occurs when an individual chooses to use a drug to achieve a ‘high’ or some other goal, such as improved mental performance or weight loss. Drug addiction describes the state whereby an individual feels a compulsion to use the drug; this can be physical, psychological or a combination of both. In the case of physical dependency, the body needs the drug to function normally and if it is suddenly removed the individual experiences unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which can only be avoided by taking more of the drug. With psychological dependence, the body does not require the drug to function, but the individual has come to rely on it in order to achieve feelings such as relaxation, self-esteem, self-confidence or freedom from anxiety.However, this should not be regarded as a casual need, rather it is a powerful compulsion.

Prescription Drugs Are As Dangerous As Any Other Drug

Once an individual becomes dependent on a drug it can create serious problems, including difficulties at work or school, financial problems and family problems. The individual may have feelings of shame and guilt if he or she has repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to reduce their intake of the drug.
Prescription drug dependency occur as a result of taking the drugs for non-medical reasons, but it can also occur even if the drug was initially taken under the supervision of a doctor.It can also affect individuals from all levels of society; for example, a number of well-known TV personalities have admitted to becoming dependent on prescription drugs such as antidepressants, after having been prescribed them for conditions such as muscle spasms and depression.

A growing problem created through innocence

Many individuals develop a problem with prescription drugs given by their GP and then start to source them themselves by other means. This is not necessarily the result of an addictive personality or a lack of willpower; it is often the case that having become dependent on a drug it can be very difficult for them to stop taking it without professional assistance.

Individuals who are dependent on prescription medicines, particularly opioids, are often able to continue their habit by seeking prescriptions from different doctors.The belief that only opioids can treat significant pain and that a patient cannot become tolerant to the drug if pain is present may also contribute to the problem.Additionally, in the past, the medical profession was unaware of the risk of dependency.

Another reason for the rise in the misuse of prescription drugs is the availability of them online.The internet makes it easier to obtain prescription drugs anonymously and as a result there has been a rise in their unregulated sales.

Safe Use

To use prescription drugs safely, individuals should never take more than the amount prescribed, increase or decrease their dosage without consulting their doctor, stop taking the medication without consulting their doctor or crush or break pills. They should never allow someone else to use their prescription medication and they should learn about the drug’s interaction with alcohol, other prescribed medicines and over the counter medicines.
Prescription drug dependency can be treated. Usually this involves a detoxification programme, which may involve immediate abstinence or gradual withdrawal or substitution of the drug. Psychological therapy is also used to prevent a recurrence of the prescription drug addiction and this involves counselling, with or without support from organisations specialising in rehabilitation.