Addiction is a dependency on a chemical, drug, or substance with the inability to stop even though it may be causing harm to the individual or others. People that become addicted are not of a certain age, race or social class. One may become addicted to the first use and others, it may take several uses, each person is different. Addiction does not always start with illicit drugs, over the last decade, we have seen a growing number of addictions to prescription drugs.
Due to the abuse of prescription drugs, it has become a common problem in society today which destroys lives and families. Increases in prescription drug misuse over the last 15 years are reflected in increased emergency room visits, overdose deaths associated with prescription drugs, and treatment admissions for prescription drug use disorders, the most severe form of which is an addiction (Drugabuse.gov, 2019). We can help reduce the growing number of addictions to prescription drugs by raising awareness with educating everyone, by medically establishing strategies to treat chronic pain, and making treatment options for addiction known.
Millions of Americans are taking prescription drugs for one reason or another. If asked, many are taking them for the right reason, however, the problem comes from a misuse of certain drugs such as opioids, stimulants, and sedatives. Physicians in the medical field must be aware of ways to treat the medical issue before writing a prescription, to reduce addiction. For example, a friend had knee surgery and the prescription drug that was contributed to alleviate the pain became an addiction. An addiction that led him to several years of denial and humiliation. Until one day, he determined to get clean, because his wife had miscarried their first kid. He felt the miscarriage was because of his addiction that his wife did not know about. He admitted an addiction to prescription drugs, asked for help, and agreed to see a physician, that helped him detox with non- addictive medication and therapy. Today he is the father to a set of healthy twin boys, age two. Some may think because the physician prescribed the drug it is safe not realizing it can become addictive. Addiction is not the only concern, because most of these medications have side effects on the overall health. It is important that physicians make sure a patient is educated about the dependency that a prescribed prescription may have. Likewise, the physician must make certain the patient knows how to properly take the medication to reduce the danger of addiction. Raising awareness is critical by educating not only the patient but everyone. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them (National Institute on Drug Abuse 2019). Drug addiction can affect the addict so they have trouble functioning in a normal environment by neglecting or abusing family. With proper education family and loved ones may be able to recognize the abuse and get the abuser help. An option for chronic pain should be pain management therapy where a patient is taught how to help control the pain. If medication is necessary a non-opioid drug should be tried first, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. After this is tried and not successful the lowest dose of opioids could be tried as a last resort. Medical strategies must be taken to treat chronic pain, which opioids should not be the first line of treatment. Medical treatment for illnesses that may need stimulants or sedatives should be made to seek psychological therapy as the first line of treatment. To minimize these risks, a physician (or other prescribing health provider) should screen patients for prior or current substance abuse problems and assess their family history of substance abuse or addiction before prescribing a psychoactive medication and monitor patients who are prescribed such drugs (Drugabuse.gov. 2019).Follow-up by the physician should be established concerning the use and effects the prescribed drug may develop in the patient. For the most part, signs are obvious as the addiction grows because the need for more in a shorter amount of time may be noticed. As the addict has become addicted to prescription drugs, they need to be made aware that medical treatment options do exist. Nonaddictive medications exist to help stop the symptoms, so the addict can regain control. In the United States, more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities provide counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and other types of services to persons with substance use disorders (Drugabuse.gov, 2019). Countless people put off getting help because they believe that life without the drug would be impossible. They may also have the mentality of I can quit when I want to. We experience the same thought process with people who smoke or drink too. They refuse that they still have a problem or make it look like they are strong-willed enough to give up on their own. Whereas they are at greater risk of relapse there are effective detox and maintenance clinics available. Physicians need to actually understand the addiction problem and ways to intervene with their patients. We have to be proactive in educating the patient about the danger of a prescription drug before it is made readily available. Normally, no one decides to get addicted to prescription drugs, which may start with a prescription to treat chronic pain or mental illness. It is important that pain management therapy or non-opioid prescriptions are the first choice. If addiction has already occurred, the patient needs to be aware that medical treatment options are available and successful. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose (“Opioid Overdose” 2018). As drug overdoses are on the rise, we must seek out ways to stop the addiction before it starts. Physicians have a crucial role in educating, preventing prescription drug use and addiction. Prevention is an important way to decrease the intensifying prescription drug addiction epidemic. The written prescription initiates with you, decide to try these prevention alternatives first.