Facts About Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction often begins when an individual is taking the prescribed dose as recommended by their physician. Painkillers are considered to be among the most prescribed medications in the United States, which has contributed directly to their abuse. Prescription painkiller addiction has been on the rise and is currently described as an epidemic by local and national governmental agencies.
Painkiller addiction is described as the compulsion and the dependence on the medication. A psychological compulsion to oxycontin would be opiate abuse despite the presence of adverse results. The physical dependence my opiate addicts feel is contributed to the opiate withdrawal symptoms experienced and the increased tolerance to opiate drugs.
The Truth About Painkiller Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are an estimated 4.7 million individuals dependent on their prescription painkillers in America. This number is shockingly high, as we have learned more about the addictive nature of these drugs over the past decade. Since 1999, the number of prescriptions dispensed within the United States has increased by over 300 percent. Opiate drugs, or narcotic pain medications, are sold under several brand names that many are familiar with, and are considered to put patients at high risk of painkiller addiction if not monitored carefully. The risk of opiate addiction when taking analgesic or opiate painkillers is about 7%, which represents about 2% of the total adult population.
Common Painkiller Addictions
Codeine is prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain, as well as a cough suppressant. Considered to be a less concentrated narcotic, it is sometimes viewed as a gateway drug to more powerful narcotics such as OxyContin. Codeine gives the individual a feeling of pleasure and calmness as it stimulates the release of neurotransmitters. These feelings of wellbeing can be intense and drive individuals to use them outside the parameters of their prescription. As with other narcotics, continued use can lead to tolerance, and result in the individual to increase their doses in order to experience the same pleasurable feelings. Painkiller addiction that begins with codeine often escalates, and some opiate addicts report a link to codeine addiction first.
Darvocet or Darvon
These drugs are now banned by the Food and Drug Administration, along with all propoxyphene painkillers. These drugs were marketed to migraine sufferers until a growing number of deaths were directly linked to Darvocet abuse or drug overdose. There are still synthetic opioids like Darvocet sold on the streets under names such yellow footballs, Dillies and D. Street names for Darvon are pinks, 65’s, and N’s and are popular among teens as they produce a rush of pleasure that can last for up to six hours. It is reported that the potential for overdose among Darvon users is high as the margin for error in dosing is slight. When Darvon is taken with alcohol or other depressive drugs, the drug’s safety drops to a dangerous level. Painkiller addiction among Darvon users was on the rise until the FDA pulled it from the market.
Percocet is a combination of Oxycodone and Acetaminophin. Oxycodone is a opioid painkiller that also considered to be a narcotic. It is prescribed to address moderate to severe pain and approved for short term use. Percocet changes an individuals perception of pain by interrupting pain receptors in the brain. Percocet causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which controls the brain’s center for pleasure and wellbeing. This can cause individuals to experience euphoria and heightened pleasure. Unfortunately, Percocet is sometimes viewed as being less dangerous than heroin or meth, but the truth is that the risk of painkiller addiction for Percocet users is the same as those of illicit drugs.
Demerol is a narcotic painkiller, also considered to be an opiate agonist, which is used to treat severe pain and is often administered post-surgery. Demerol, or Meperidine, is an powerful pain medication which blocks pain sensation while lowering the bodies response to stress and anxiety. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), more than 100,0000 individuals age 12 and older reported illicit use of Demerol. Demerol addiction rates are quite high as the drug causes severe withdrawal symptoms when doses are lowered, prompting many abusers to continue using. Demerol painkiller addiction often requires inpatient drug rehab and specialized therapies.
Fentanyl is a powerful opiate used for severe pain management. Similar to morphine, it is more than 100 times as potent, working to eliminate the sensation of pain from an individuals entire body, not just the localized pain. Often prescribed for patients with painful chronic illnesses such as cancer and as part of anesthesia prior to surgery, fentanyl is often prescribed for patients resistant to opiate drugs. Painkiller addiction to fentanyl can occur when an individuals tolerance for the drug limits the pleasant side effects once felt when administered. Fentanyl is sold under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. On the street, fentanyl is sometimes mixed with heroin and sold as China Girl, Dance Fever, Goodfella and Jackpot.
Dilaudid, or hydromorphone, is an opiate painkiller used to control moderate to severe pain often used in patients recovering from burns or living with cancers. Dilaudid is powerful, and is 9 times stronger than morphine, causing a higher rate of painkiller addiction. It works by attaching to pain receptors in the brain and central nervous system and blocks pain while causing pleasure. Individuals taking Dilaudid often find that they develop a tolerance to the drug within a few short weeks, driving them to increase the amount they take, or decrease their dosing time. Dilaudid is often prescribed as an intravenous drug and once taken in higher doses can be almost impossible to decrease or stop use without going into drug withdrawal.
Hydrocodone is an opiate painkiller that is mixed with other narcotic drugs to provide relief for individuals struggling with moderate to severe pain. Most patients prescribed hydrocodone are recovering from surgery or other injuries. Painkiller addiction to hydrocodone can occur even when the patient is taking the prescribed dose. Inpatient drug rehab in Huntington Beach is the preferred method of drug treatment for individuals dealing with opiate addictions. Hydrocodone is the most prescribed opiate drug in the United States.