The common stereotype of a person addicted to drugs is one where they will be either injecting something into their arm or snorting it up their nose. The reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addiction problems. In fact, people can begin taking a drug for completely legitimate reasons but still end up with severe problems. It is important that students at university or college are aware of all the paths into addiction so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to all types of drugs, one of these types of drugs is Painkillers.

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Addiction to Prescribed Drugs

It is common for students who become addicted to prescribed drugs to have originally done so under the order of their doctor. The individual may have had some type of injury or illness that meant he/she was in a great deal of pain, the physician then prescribes strong painkillers to help the individual deal with this pain.

This is all perfectly reasonable but what can sometimes happen is that the person decides that they like the pleasant side effects that come with these drugs, itt can often be a feeling of well-being and comfort. What happens is that the individual then begins taking these drugs for the wrong reasons. They may begin lying to their doctor about their pain so that they can get more of the drug; they may even go to different doctors, or try buying the substance illegally.

Interesting Fact: An overdose of some types of painkiller can cause respiratory depression which is when breathing becomes difficult. This can lead to a coma and/or death.

Prescribed Drugs or Recreational Drugs?

There can also be a situation where individuals sell prescribed drugs to make a bit of money on the side. They may have come across these substances legitimately, but they are now breaking the law. There can be a high demand for prescribed drugs, but those caught they will face serious consequences.

If students buy these substances illegally, they are considered purely recreational and not prescribed drugs. Even if they have been prescribed for the person, it can still be considered recreational use if the person is using them for reasons other than what they were originally prescribed for.

What Types of Painkillers Do Students Become Addicted To?

Students can become addicted to many types of painkillers, including:

  • Opiate drugs like pethidine, morphine, and diamorphine.
  • Paracetamol.
  • Codeine.
  • Co-Codamol.
  • Tramadol.

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Dangers of Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction is considered dangerous for a number of reasons, including:

  • Causing damage to all the body organs.
  • Leading to a deterioration in mental health.
  • Developing financial, legal, or social problems as a result.
  • The person’s family may suffer emotionally.
  • Being at risk of overdose and death as a result.
  • Losing interest in everything that once gave their life meaning.
  • Also losing interest in their studies and thus missing out on life-opportunities.
  • That if the individual is ever dealing with severe pain in the future it might be difficult to treat them because they have developed such a high tolerance.

Interesting Fact: Statistics show that women are much more likely to overdose on painkillers than men, this is seen to be due to the fact that women are much more likely to report chronic pain to their doctor and thus be introduced to the drug.

How to Overcome Painkiller Addiction

For those students who have become addicted to prescribed medication, it will be important to notify their doctor. It would also often be beneficial to tell family about the addiction problem as they can be very supportive. In some cases, the physician may be able to taper this individual off the drug by steadily lowering the dosage. In many cases though, the best option will be for the person to detox, usually best done in rehab. Read more about children and students with addictions in our student addiction guide.