Prescription pain relievers, when used correctly and under a doctor’s supervision, are safe and effective. But abuse them, or mix them with illegal drugs or alcohol, and you could wind up in the morgue. Even using prescription pain relievers with other prescription drugs (such as antidepressants) or over-the-counter medications (like cough syrups and antihistamines), can lead to life-threatening respiratory failure.
In the US and Canada, pain relievers are the most frequently abused type of prescription drug. Europe shows some signs of catching up to the US, as fentanyl, the extremely strong painkilling opiate, is seeing more abuse. In other countries, it may be benzodiazepines as is seen in Northern European countries like Finland and Norway. In Asian countries, it is more likely to be stimulants such as prescription amphetamine.
The most dangerous prescription pain relievers are those containing drugs known as opioids, such as morphine and codeine.
There is an epidemic sweeping over the nation, the epidemic of prescription pill addiction. This pain pill addiction epidemic is far worse than an epidemic of the flu could ever be…and why? Because pain pill addiction keeps its victims sick for years and years.
Most pain pill addicts begin their run with pain pill addiction simply from being prescribed a pain pill or an anxiety pill for legitimate medical reasons – either they have had a surgery or some other pain that the doctor felt warranted a pain pill prescription for numbing the pain, or the person could not deal with anxiety attacks and Xanax or some other anti-anxiety pill was prescribed. Though some people have gotten addicted to anti-anxiety pills, research suggests that the pain pill addiction is much stronger and wide-spread.
It is said that opiate pain relievers provide a high that is similar to that of heroin. Ironically, abusing prescription pain relievers now leads many people to heroin. As state after state enacts laws making it difficult to acquire supplies of prescription drugs for illicit use, many people have been turning to heroin, leading to more demand for heroin addiction treatment and more overdose deaths.
At this point, the pain pill addict has become totally dependent on these pain pills and is probably taking more than the prescribed amounts every day. If the addiction is really strong, the person may run out of pain pills and begin to blame others for their missing pills…going as far as saying “the dog must have taken them” or “who stole my pills?” and so forth. Other signs of a pain pill addiction can include the addict falling asleep at sporadic times. This can be especially dangerous if the addict also smokes, as the cigarette can fall from their hands and light the person or their surroundings on fire (yes, this has happened). Depression and anger can also be signs of a pain pill addiction, specifically when the person may have run out of pills and they are experiencing miniature withdrawals. Sickness such as stomach issues, vomiting and diarrhea, are also signs that a person may be addicted to pills and withdrawing between pain pill benders.
“Doctor shopping” also known as polypharmacy is a very common occurrence amongst pain pill addicts and is especially common in the state of Florida. In fact, we were taught in school that Florida has the highest rate of pain pill addicts in the country. This usually includes the downward spiraling force of the pain management clinics. These clinics state that they aid in relieving chronic pain, but in reality all they do is prescribe more pills to a patient. Usually they offer no other method of pain relief. What happened to other therapeutic methods of pain relief? These clinics are especially easy for addicts to acquire the fix that they so crave.
If you abuse prescription pain relievers and are lucky enough to cheat death, you’re still in big trouble. Prescription pain relievers can be addictive. The longer you take them, the more your body needs. Try to stop, and you could experience withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction to prescription pain relievers is like being hooked on heroin and the withdrawal isn’t much different: bone and muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and insomnia.