Painkillers Lead to Addiction

Pain killers can lead to addictions.

An article written by Carolyn Butler describes the alarming trend of people slipping from prescribed (and legal) use of painkillers into addictive (and illegal) abuse.

We’ve written before about this sinister phenomenon (and we also recommend you visit to learn about the OxyContin epidemic) This article reiterates how the numbers of people addicted to prescriptions is growing rapidly.

Many people are unfamiliar with the potential dangers of prescription drugs such as Percocet or Vicodin. Those who take them recreationally are enticed by someone who has a leftover stash of a narcotic painkiller. Studies have shown that 20.8 percent of Americans 12 and older (or nearly 52 million people) have taken prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons (according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from 2008).

These drugs are widely viewed as safer than street drugs such as meth or cocaine because a person can obtain them legally from a doctor. There is a distorted perception that they are not as dangerous as other illicit substances. Despite what people think, these drugs are just as harmful. Prescription drugs are now more available than ever before. Their easy accessibility is contributing to the growing numbers in prescription drug addiction.

Raising Awareness

It is important to raise awareness about the risk for addiction to prescription drugs. Everyone, it seems, is at an equal risk. “We’re not really talking about drug use that hits one group or another, because . . . there were increases across the board, with growth cutting across age, gender, region, race, education and employment status,” said Peter Delany, director of the Office of Applied Studies for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which published this latest research.

There needs to be a happy medium between the needs of pain patients and the concern of the growing abuse problem. Better training for doctors and more education for patients will certainly help reduce the risks. Perhaps the most important is reminding patients of their responsibility to properly dispose of leftover pills, which means unused pills should be flushed down the toilet, per FDA recommendations for certain painkillers.

If you are concerned about your prescription drug use or that of someone you care for, contact our drug rehabilitation center by calling 877-945-4052.