prescription addiction dara

Ease Of Access – The Prescription Addiction Epidemic

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Prescription Addiction – Prescription medication helps countless people through illness and disease. It also takes a massive toll in terms of those who become dependent upon medicine that is supposedly under strict control.

Let’s take a look at this medication, how common abuse of it is, some frightening statistics and how so much of it is reaching the illegal dealers.

What is Prescription medication – The Cure?

Often called ‘prescription medicine’ or ‘prescription drug’ this type of medication is a pharmaceutical drug that by law requires a certified medical professional to authorise its use.

After seeing a patient and carrying out any necessary medical checks these professionals then recommend any medication required. Once accepted by the patient a prescription with signature is supplied. The patient then takes this to an approved pharmacist to receive the medicine.

These drugs are far stronger than Over The Counter (OTC) medicines that can be obtained without a prescription by anyone over the age of consent. To prevent misuse of prescription medication the above safeguards have been put in place.

This misuse includes abuse of the drug as well as preventing people from practicing medicine without a licence.

What is prescription medication addiction – The Cause?

Prescription Addiction – Also commonly called ‘prescription drug abuse’ this is the use of a controlled drug without a prescription, or the drug in question has been prescribed but is used in a way other than how it should be, or it is used purely for ‘pleasure’ due to the heightened feelings and experiences it offers.

Is this abuse common?

In many countries it is out of control. There are literally millions of people the world over abusing prescription medication and many of these are now dependent upon them.

It is also understood that alcohol and marijuana are the only substances abused by more people than prescription medication.

Startling statistics that really are very frightening:

To put the scale of prescription drug abuse clearly into context it is claimed this type of abuse has been the fastest growing drug problem in several countries for a good few years now.

For well over a decade opioid pain medication has played a role in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

Prescription addiction surveys carried out state that around one-third of first time recreational drug users choose to start their drug experimentation with some form of prescription medication.

If this really is the case then surely it points to this class of drug being a powerful ‘gateway drug’ that leads many onto other highly addictive substances such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

How do so many prescription drugs get onto the streets?

With an estimated yearly black market value of $25 billion in the United States alone it is little wonder there are a variety of ways that these drugs reach the hands of dealers.

Most of these avenues come under a term known as:

Diversion:

This is where prescription drugs are transferred from lawful to unlawful channels of distribution.

Pain management clinics are the major source dealers ‘use’ for obtaining painkillers and depressants.

Examples of the most in-demand opioids are Roxicodone and OxyContin, while Xanax is said to be the most popular benzodiazepine depressant.

Methods of Diversion:

Differing methods are used by dealers and they will often combine ways of securing these drugs to ensure a constant supply and re-stocking of their inventories. Some popular methods are:

Finding willing individuals to make appointments at clinics, surgeries and health facilities, and training them on what to say as well as supplying fraudulent MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) reports to give to the pain doctor. These individuals then go ‘Doctor Shopping’ and visit four or five pain clinics per month.

Dealers also use a process known as ‘sponsoring’ where they finance all of a willing participant’s expenses in exchange for 50-75% of the pills obtained per visit.

Some dealers prefer to purchase drugs from willing sellers that include Veterans, those on government health schemes, Crack/Heroin addicts and HIV patients.

They particularly target those receiving regular prescriptions via government subsidized schemes, and registered addicts who receive prescription medication but prefer their illegal drug of choice.

The reason these 2 groups are targeted is because they often have low levels of income and are more than willing to sell some, or all of their regular supply.

Another supply route is the use of a ‘Connect’. This term describes an employee at a healthcare facility who has access to a constant supply of medication and/or prescription pads.

Some of these ‘connects’ may also be in a position to take batches of sample drugs provided to the facility, falsify inventory claims as a shipment arrives or undercount dispensed medication.

A huge challenge to reduce this abuse:

It is very clear that authorities face a huge challenge if they are to reduce the number of people illegally using prescription medication. The success of current and future solutions remains to be seen.

If you are abusing these drugs, have issues with prescription addiction and are in need of professional assistance to help stop use, please do yourself a huge favour by contacting a well-established rehabilitation centre. They can offer confidential advice and support while explaining the options available to you in terms of treatment.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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