Prescription Drug Addiction

If you need help with prescription drug addiction you can apply for free to one of our Teen Challenge Centers today. An estimated 20 percent of people have used prescription drugs for non medical reasons. This is called prescription drug addiction. It is a serious and growing problem.
Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them, if you don’t come in that category and believe you have prescription drug addiction, complete our online application form to get help. One of our Support Workers or Centre Manager will then contact you to arrange an interview. Our services are free.

Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. You can develop an addiction to:

  • Narcotic painkillers
  • Sedatives and tranquilizers
  • Stimulants

Experts don’t know exactly why this type of drug abuse is increasing. The availability of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever before. Online pharmacies make it easy to get prescription drugs without a prescription, even for youngsters.

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Why do some people abuse prescription drugs?

Some people experiment with prescription drugs because they think they will help them have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively. Prescription drugs can be easier to get than street drugs. Family members or friends could have a prescription. But prescription drugs are also sometimes sold on the street like other illegal drugs. A 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that among all youths aged 12 to 17, 6% had tried prescription drugs for recreational use in the last month.

Why? Some people think that prescription drugs are safer and less addictive than street drugs. After all, these are drugs that moms, dads, and even kid brothers and sisters use.

If you’re struggling with a prescription drug addiction, but you don’t want to see someone face-to-face at the moment, then Teen Challenge can help free by having a one to one telephone chat before you commit yourself to a programme.

Which drugs are abused?

The most commonly used prescription drugs fall into three classes:

1. Opioids

  • Examples: oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and meperidine (Demerol)
  • Medical uses: Opioids are used to treat pain or relieve coughs or diarrhea.

How they work: Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord), preventing the brain from receiving pain messages.

2. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

  • Examples: pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Medical uses: CNS depressants are used to treat anxiety, tension, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.

How they work: CNS depressants slow down brain activity by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA. The result is a drowsy or calming effect.

3. Stimulants

  • Examples: methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine / dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
  • Medical uses: Stimulants can be used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD.
  • How they work: Stimulants increase brain activity, resulting in greater alertness, attention, and energy.
Over-the-Counter Drugs

Some people mistakenly think that prescription drugs are more powerful because you need a prescription for them. But it’s possible to abuse or become addicted to over-the-counter (OTC) medications, too.

For example, dextromethorphan (DXM) is found in some OTC cough medicines. When someone takes the number of teaspoons or tablets that are recommended, everything is fine. But high doses can cause problems with the senses (especially vision and hearing) and can lead to confusion, stomach pain, numbness, and even hallucinations.

How do I know if I'm addicted?

Many different signs can point to drug addiction. The most obvious is feeling the need to have a particular drug or substance. Changes in mood, weight, or interests are other signs of drug addiction.

If you think you — or a friend — may be addicted to prescription drugs, talk to Teen Challenge. We can help you get the help you need free of charge. It’s especially important for someone who is going through withdrawal from a CNS depressant to speak with a professional counselor. Withdrawal can be dangerous when it’s not monitored, all our services are free for any type of drug withdrawal.

What are the dangers of abusing medications?

Whether they’re using street drugs or medications, drug abusers often have trouble at school, at home, with friends, or with the law. The likelihood that someone will commit a crime, be a victim of a crime, or have an accident is higher when that person is abusing drugs — no matter whether those drugs are medications or street drugs.Like all drug abuse, using prescription drugs for the wrong reasons has serious risks for a person’s health. This risk is higher when prescription drugs like opioids are taken with other substances like alcohol, antihistamines, and CNS depressants.

CNS depressants have risks, too. Abruptly stopping or reducing them too quickly can lead to seizures. Taking CNS depressants with other medications, such as prescription painkillers, some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, or alcohol can slow a person’s heartbeat and breathing — and even kill.

Here are some other ways to protect yourself!

Never use someone else’s prescription. And don’t allow a friend to use yours. Not only are you putting your friend at risk, but you could suffer, too. Pharmacists won’t refill a prescription if a medication has been used up before it should be. And if you’re found giving medication to someone else, it’s considered a crime and you could find yourself in court.

If someone has become addicted to prescription drugs, there are several kinds of treatment, depending on individual needs and the type of drug used. The two main categories of drug addiction treatment are behavioral and pharmacological.

Behavioral treatments teach people how to function without drugs — handling cravings, avoiding drugs and situations that could lead to drug use, and preventing and handling relapses. Pharmacological treatments involve giving patients a special type of medication to help those overcome withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Teen Challenge’s free rehabilitation programme is for prescription drug addiction, and is open to everyone both men and women who need addiction help. Wilkerson House Center in London is open to men only and Hope House Center in Wales is for women. Both are residential and the programme term is 12 months. The programme is FREE to all, complete an online application form today. Action is the bridge that helps us move from the dark to the light!