Prescription Drug Dangers

Florida, a state once notorious for the frightening ease with which anyone could obtain a legal prescription for powerful narcotics, has cracked down on these pills mills. During a 6 month time period in 2010, there were 1,268 deaths related to prescription drugs in Florida. That is 7 deaths a day. Once a destination for people across the county trying to obtain prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, lawmakers and residents have taken steps to make it more difficult for people to obtain these drugs. It raises the question: how did it get so bad in the first place? A combination of unethical doctors, lack of regulations, ignorance surrounding the dangers of prescription pills and no means of tracking these prescriptions provided the ideal conditions for this epidemic to take off.

Current measures taken to fight this trend include making more arrests. However, arresting people for prescription drugs is complicated by the fact that these drugs are legal. While numerous doctors have been arrested for over prescribing these drugs, they can defend their actions by saying that thought that what they were prescribing was appropriate for the level of pain the patient was experiencing. Making arrests is further made more difficult because the drugs can be purchased legally and then distributed illegally.

Increase in prescription drug abuse, particularly opiates, has also been linked to an increase in heroin use. It is a sign of the progression of the disease of addiction. People who may have never done an illicit drug in their life can find themselves addicted to a painkiller that they were legally prescribed and when they run out or if the doctor stops prescribing it to them, they will turn to heroin which produces a very similar high.

People who use prescriptions drugs and combine them with other drugs are in even more danger of overdosing. Prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines and opiates, slow down breathing and when mixed with alcohol this effect is exacerbated and can lead to death. Also many prescription painkillers contain acetaminophen which when mixed with alcohol can lead to liver problems.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have a problem with prescription drugs, you are not alone. The care coordinators at There is a Solution are available 24/7 to answer your questions and work with you to find you the help you needs. You can contact us by calling (800) 832-5250.

How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Opiates?

image of drugsThe scary truth is that it is easier to become addicted to opiates than one may think. The length of time it takes to become physically dependent on opiates varies depending on a number of different factors. How much and how often you use opiates, the type of opiate you are using, age, gender, size, metabolism and your opioid receptors all play a role in the length of time it takes to develop a physical dependency on opiates.

However, as far as the time it takes to develop a psychological or mental addiction, some users report knowing that they were hooked from the first time they tried opiates.

For many individuals, becoming preoccupied with the length of time it takes to become addicted to opiates or wondering how long they can continue to use them is itself a red flag. It is important to recognize both the physical and mental signs of opiate addiction. Developing a physical dependency on opiates is made apparent when one abruptly attempts to stop using and experiences certain withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Cold sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Goosebumps
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach cramping
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia

However, you can be addicted to opiates without actually being physically dependent on them. Signs of psychological addiction include:

  • Continuing use despite physical, mental, legal or financial consequences
  • Preoccupation or mental obsession with using and getting more opiates
  • Using prescription opiates (Oxycontin, oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin) that have not been prescribed to you or taking more than the recommended dosage
  • Developing a tolerance (requiring more of the drug to produce the same effect)
  • Taking prescription opiates for the “high” rather than the intended medical effect
  • Lying about your use
  • Feeling guilty about your use
  • Inability to control when or how much you use
  • Using despite a desire not to do so

If you are concerned that you may be addicted to opiates, it is important to reach out to someone who can help. There is a Solution is a drug treatment placement service. We work with a large network of drug treatment facilities that provide varying levels of care, including detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, sober living and drug counseling.

If you are concerned that you or someone you love may have a problem with drugs, contact one of our addictions professional today by calling 1-800-832-5250. We are available 24/7 to take your calls and answer your questions.