Many patients taking prescription painkillers get can become addicted to the medication. . Some may switch to heroin and can die of an overdose. The issue of overdosing drugs is so wide that the FDA has mandated black-box warning labels about the risk of abuse. But at the same time, these drugs are beneficial to manage pain.
The most common drugs involved in prescription overdose death in the US includes:
- Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®)
- Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®)
However, these drugs are essential to managing pain, either chronic pain, or acute pain., These medications may also offer a euphoric sense of feeling.
Prescription Drug Abuse is a Real Issue
According to National Institute of Health (NIH), approx. 20,000 people died in the year 2014 due to overdose on prescription painkillers. According to CDC, opioid overdose was rising frequently in the US at that time. And the epidemic included both prescription as well as street drugs.
Prescription opioids increases the popularity of street drugs. Some people, who are addicted to painkillers, can switch to heroin as it was easily accessible and cheaper than prescription painkillers. According to US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 79% of heroin users had taken painkillers for fun.
Tips to Avoid Painkiller Addiction
People can take addictive substances such as prescription painkillers to get relieve from pain. However, some of them avoid painkillers as they are concerned about becoming addicted. Here are some ways to use painkillers safely to minimize the risk of addiction.
- Follow your doctor’s prescription – One of the best ways to avoid painkiller addiction is to take your pills as recommended by your doctor. You should not exceed the dosage quantity and follow the dosage as suggested by your doctor.
- Dispose old and expired pills – Raise your hand if you have a bottle of painkillers in your medicine cabinet. You’re not alone —many individuals have. So to avoid addiction, make sure to clean your medicine cabinet regularly. Make sure to safely dispose of old and expired pills regularly.
- Don’t avoid painkillers – Individuals, who are concerned about becoming addicted wait for the time to take painkiller until their condition gets worse. However, this eventually leads them to take more number of pills to manage their pain. This is why it’s not good to avoid painkillers, just simply take your pills as suggested by your doctor.
- Know the signs of addiction – Individuals who are worried about developing an addiction towards painkiller must observe the signs of addiction. Few of the signs of getting addicted to painkillers are using multiple doctors to get pain medications, running out of a prescription early, lying to doctors about the need for painkillers and taking pain medications from others. These all are strong signs of addiction.
- Look for alternatives –People who have had any kind of addiction in the past may want to avoid painkillers altogether. These individuals must consult with their doctor and find out if they have any alternative treatment available that can help ease their pain or they can ask their doctor to closely monitor their usage of these drugs.