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Prescription Drug Addiction in Florida

Prescription drug addiction in Florida is a growing trend that needs to be understood by both addicts and treatment programs. Prescription drug addiction can stem from an actual medical need at first, or might start with the illegal use of prescription medications. Regardless of how a prescription drug addiction begins, treatment must be sought in order to wean an individual off of a drug physically and work with them to understand why addiction occurs in the first place.


Prescription Drug Addiction in Florida: Statistics

The best way for addiction treatment programs and awareness groups to understand prescription drug abuse and addiction in Florida is to look at trends and statistics in the area. While addictions can seem highly personal, there are specific drugs that are abused more heavily overall or by specific demographics. Treatment programs can focus on this and hopefully help with specific recovery plans geared towards the most needed areas.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) compiles statistics on the nation’s drug trends, as well as those within individual states. By bringing together statistics on treatment, fatalities, and drug use, those within Florida can better understand common issues and work to help overcome prescription addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in a 2008 survey that 7.8% of individuals in Florida have used illicit drugs in the past month. This is in line with reporting from the nation as a whole, which averaged at 8%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on drug-induced deaths within Florida in 2007. Almost 3,000 deaths were related to drug use. Overall, drug-induced deaths in Florida exceeded the national average. This shows how dangerous drug use can be, and that those who are using prescription drugs might not even realize the dangers that drug use of any kind can actually cause.

Common Prescription Drugs Abused

While prescription medications are beneficial for many different reasons, habit forming prescription drugs must be monitored carefully by medical professionals to ensure that addiction doesn’t occur. Prescription drug abuse is becoming more common when it comes to recreational drug use and these can be obtained illegally and used without any medical benefit. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that prescription medications are the second most used drug category throughout the country. Three common prescription drugs types that are abused are opiates, sedatives, and stimulants.

Opiates are usually prescribed under extreme supervision and for short term acute pain. This could be from surgery recovery or from physical pain caused by an accident. Opiates can be very addictive and individuals that abuse these types of drugs might up their dosage or even try different ways of using this drug. This can include smoking to injecting for a different or better high. Common opiates are codeine, vicodin, and fentanyl.

Sedatives are used as a calming medication, if an individual has gone through a traumatic event or needs to recover from anxiety. This isn’t a medication that is commonly prescribed for long term treatment, and those who suffer from anxiety over time might be prescribed medications that are less habit forming. Common sedatives are benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Stimulants are addictive mostly because of their extreme effectiveness at first. Stimulants can be found in weight loss medications and drugs to help with one’s focus. These work well, but the secondary high associated with stimulants can lead to addiction. Those who become addicted to stimulants might have extreme weight loss, become detached from reality, and forgo self-care.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse can happen slowly over time for those who may have been prescribed medications at one point, and addicts might hide this abuse from others. If a prescription medication brings on a feeling of euphoria or other sensation that an individual hopes to maintain, they might up their dosage of medication to keep this. Once dependency sets in, an individual might not realize that they are addicted since they began taking a prescription for medical purposes.

There are two types of drug categories, known as Schedule I and Schedule II. Schedule I drugs are those that are commonly illegal and show no known medical purpose. Schedule II drugs are those that can be addictive, but might be prescribed to help with short term ailments. When individuals begin to abuse prescription medications or use these in a manner that isn’t recommended, this is considered drug abuse and is something that can be dangerous or lead to addiction.

If an individual seems out of touch, is taking prescriptions without the care of a physician, or has other personality or emotional changes, they might be addicted to prescription drugs. Physical signs might be extreme weight loss, lethargy, or loss of interest in personal care. If an individual has had rapid changes in their mental or physical state, it is a good idea to talk with them about their prescription drug use and possibly work towards addiction treatment or rehabilitation.


Long Term Treatment and Aftercare

Prescription drug addiction can be unique because those who are suffering from addiction might not even realize that they have become physically dependent on a drug. Treatments will often uncover a dual diagnosis. This will involve a secondary illness that will need to be treated alongside one’s prescription drug addiction in Florida. This might be a mental issue, emotional trauma, or a physical ailment. This secondary illness will need to be focused on either with non-habit forming medications, counseling, or physical therapy.

The recovery process from prescription drug abuse can be difficult, but for those who realize that they have a problem and truly want help, this can be achieved. This doesn’t just end with inpatient or outpatient care. An individual must commit to long term recovery, and continue some parts of their care in the long run. This might include support groups, counseling, or continued care with a medical professional to monitor secondary illnesses. If an individual makes a commitment to recovery, treatment programs in Florida can be successful and hopefully assist in avoiding relapse in the long run.