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Prescription Drug Rehab Centers

Prescription Drug Rehab Centers

When used properly, prescription medications can dramatically improve one’s health. Unfortunately, prescription drug misuse is prevalent. Someone misuses a medication any time he or she takes it in a manner or amount different than prescribed, or by using a medication prescribed to someone else–even if used properly for a genuine medical reason. While practically any prescription medication can be misused, powerful pain relievers, such as opioids, are particularly problematic.

Although recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a decline in the number of opioid prescriptions issued from the 2012 between and 2016, rates are still high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of accidental prescription opioid overdoses leaped by 400 percent between 1999 and 2014. Prescription drug treatment centers work to address the prescription drug epidemic by reducing patients’ physical and mental dependence on them.

Expert

Dr. Benjamin Nordstrom
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When used properly, prescription medications can dramatically improve one’s health. Unfortunately, prescription drug misuse is prevalent. Someone misuses a medication any time he or she takes it in a manner or amount different than prescribed, or by using a medication prescribed to someone else–even if used properly for a genuine medical reason. While practically any prescription medication can be misused, powerful pain relievers, such as opioids, are particularly problematic.

Although recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a decline in the number of opioid prescriptions issued from the 2012 between and 2016, rates are still high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of accidental prescription opioid overdoses leaped by 400 percent between 1999 and 2014. Prescription drug treatment centers work to address the prescription drug epidemic by reducing patients’ physical and mental dependence on them.

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Fast Facts: Prescription Drug Misuse in the United States

According to the 2012 IMS, National Prescription Audit, opioid prescriptions tend to be highest in the Deep South and Midwest. States with the highest rates include:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • Michigan

Prescription pain relievers commonly misused:

  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Propoxyphene

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone the prescription pain relievers most commonly associated with death by overdose.

Prescription opioid use is higher in adults aged 40 years and older than those aged 20 to 39 years.

Women were more likely to use prescription opioids than men.

Prescription drug addiction is most effectively treated through a combination of counseling and Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Unfortunately, despite the proven effectiveness of opioid treatment medications, they’re not widely available to patients who enter treatment.

Research shows that two common opioid treatment medications–methadone and buprenorphine–improve one’s chances of recovery by helping them complete prescription drug rehabilitation programs and avoid overdosing.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Saves Lives

If someone is misusing an opioid, they may be at risk of harming themselves and others. Common symptoms of prescription drug misuse:

  • Appearance of drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Overly relaxed muscles
  • Contracted pupils
  • Itchy skin

Prescription drug rehab centers can help those misusing medication reduce their physical and psychological dependence on the medications, thereby reducing the risk of serious medical harm or death.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Treatment Program

The effectiveness of a particular treatment program is highly dependent the individual. Besides the specific prescription pain reliever someone is misusing, other factors that will affect treatment’s effectiveness include:

  • The age and sex of the patient
  • Cost of treatment, including the level of insurance coverage
  • Availability of social support outside the program
  • Availability of opioid treatment medication
  • Any other mental health or personal problems the patient is facing
Inpatient Versus Outpatient Prescription Drug Rehabs

Inpatient prescription drug rehab, also labeled residential treatment, places the patient in a safe and immersive environment 24 hours a day, for several weeks to several months. Outpatient prescription drugs rehab, on the other hand, provides treatment services to the patient for just a few hours a day, after which they return home.

Because inpatient rehabs shut off any negative outside influences that may cause a relapse, these programs tend to be more effective. Patients who attend inpatient prescription drug rehab programs are also more likely to complete treatment and, in turn, less likely to overdose.

Opioid-Specific Prescription Drug ehabilitation Centers

Many rehab programs are tailored to those having problems with opioid misuse. Even before the rise of the recent opioid crisis, many individuals struggled with heroin addictions. While oxycodone and hydrocodone misuse problems are more recent (at least with respect to the number of people suffering), many treatment programs are prepared to handle this new type of addiction and misuse of prescription pain relievers.

One of the most effective opioid addiction treatments is MAT, which combines counseling and behavioral therapy with medications like buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. Only some prescription drug rehabs are certified to use these medications. Some experts argue the drugs themselves are subject to misuse while some contest that belief.

What to Expect in Prescription Drug Rehabs

Anyone who goes into a treatment program will want to know what to expect. Here is a general overview of how things will go.

Prescription Drug Overdose: What to Do

If you believe someone you love may have overdosed on a prescription medication, it is critical that you seek emergency care. Do not take him or her to a prescription drug rehabilitation center until released from medical care!

  • Signs of an Opioid Overdose
  • How to Help Someone Overdosing on Prescription Opioids
  • Someone overdosing on a prescription opioid often presents the following symptoms–though not necessarily at once:

    • Unconscious or unresponsive to stimuli
    • Vomiting
    • Pale or clammy skin
    • Slow, erratic or no pulse
    • Unable to speak
    • Bluish, ashen or grayish skin
    • Making snoring or choking sounds
    • Blue or purplish fingernails or lips
    • Pinpoint pupils
    • No or extremely slow breathing
    • Immediately call 9-1-1.
    • If the person has stopped breathing, you may begin CPR, but only do so if you’re properly trained.
    • Administer naloxone (branded under the name Narcan as a nasal spray). Naloxone should begin working within minutes by blocking the effect opioids have on the human brain. Note that multiple doses may be necessary and naloxone is not a substitute for medical care to treat an opioid overdose.
    • The vast majority of states allow individuals to purchase naloxone without a prescription. According to the maker of Narcan Nasal Spray, only in Nebraska and Michigan is a prescription still required.

Q&A with Expert Dr. Benjamin Nordstrom

About Benjamin Nordstrom, MD, PhD

Dr. Benjamin Nordstrom is the Chief Clinical Officer of Phoenix House and Phoenix Life Centers. A board-certified addiction psychologist, Dr. Nordstrom holds a Doctor of Medicine from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a Master of Arts and PhD in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Q. What should you do if you believe you are misusing prescription drugs?

    The clearest sign for many people is that they realize the amount of the substance they used has increased because they stopped feeling the effect they were looking for. They might also notice they have to use the substance just to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Then, after noticing these things, they find that they can’t cut down or quit as easily as they had imagined.

    One sign that a person might need help is if they realize that substances have crowded out other important things in their lives. For many people with addiction, their substance becomes “front and center”, and this leads to problems in other areas of their lives. This could take the form of not living up to obligations for work or family, or giving up activities that used to be important to them. Another sign of a problem is having repeated conflicts with loved ones about, or because of, substance use. Also, substance use leading to dangerous situations – whether driving under the influence, having overdoses, or blackouts – is a very clear sign that something needs to change.

  • Q. What are prescription drugs rehab programs really like?

    Treatment will be different for each individual. In general, because substance use has taken over so much of a person’s life, when the substance use stops, something has to fill the void in their days. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that it’s more motivating to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. That’s why we help people discover their own personal strengths and use them to push through the hard work of recovery.

    Rehab isn’t just about getting sober. It’s about getting healthy. In addition to providing evidence-based therapies, they incorporate fitness, nutrition, and sleep education to improve patients’ mental, physical, and emotional health. Addiction is a disease, but recovery is a lifestyle.

  • Q. How is treating a prescription drug addiction different from treating other substances?

    The first difference is that the time between a person first using opioids and the moment they begin to seek treatment is shorter than with other drugs. In other words, people hit “rock bottom” faster with the opioids.Second, the uncomfortable withdrawal syndrome that develops during abstinence helps perpetuate the use of opioids in a way that is of a different magnitude compared to other drugs. Third, the high risk of overdose death makes opioid use disorders especially dangerous. Fourth, opioid use disorders are unique in that there are three different FDA approved medications that can be prescribed to treat it.

  • Q. How has research about MAT impacted prescription drug addiction treatment?

    Research has shown three medications to be safe and effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders. These medications are methadone, buprenorphine (such as Suboxone) and naltrexone (such as Vivitrol). Each one of these medications has specific advantages and drawbacks, and research hasn’t shown any one of them to be superior to the others. People should talk with their doctor about which one is right for them. The important thing is that these medications can reduce the amount of opioids people use, help them stay in treatment, and perhaps most importantly, reduce their chance of dying of an overdose.

  • Q. Do you have any advice for friends and family members concerned about a loved one’s drug use?

    I tell families of patients that a lack of love didn’t cause the addiction, and they aren’t going to be able to simply love their family member into recovery. They can choose to be part of the solution. Part of that is knowing that a solution exists and then doing everything possible to help them get help.