It appears more and more people are abusing prescription drugs. Two new studies found that treatment for addiction and emergency room visits for such drugs have risen dramatically.
A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that in 2008, the number of people seeking treatment for addiction to painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin increased 400% from 10 years ago.
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) also reports that emergency room visits due to prescription drug abuse have nearly doubled in five years.
All of this while the use of illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine have remained steady.
"Prescription drugs don’t have the same stigma attached to them that illegal (illicit) drugs do," said Mike Cohan, spokesman for Recovery Now TV. "Someone could begin taking Vicodin as prescribed for pain treatment and not realize how addictive this drug can be. Often people don’t realize that prescription drug addiction and abuse can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. If you believe that a loved one is abusing any type of drug then you should try to get him or her help immediately."
The disturbing trend has caught the attention of federal authorities.
"When you see a 98% increase and you think about the cost involved in lives and families, not to mention dollars, it’s pretty startling," said drug czar Gil Kerlikowske.
There are warning signs of growing addiction to prescription drugs. You should take notice of these signs in yourself or loved ones before it becomes a full-blown addiction:
-- A noticeable rise in tolerance; you need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
-- Obsession with the drug; you constantly think about your next dose.
-- Discomfort between doses; physical symptoms of withdrawal such as muscle aches, insomnia, or excessive sweating.
-- Secretive behavior; do you lie to people about your habit?
-- Interference with everyday responsibilities; is your habit getting in the way of your normal activities?