Malibu Horizon - Leader in Prescription Drug Abuse Addiction Treatment
Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a huge problem in the United States and around the world. Medications can be effective when they are used properly, but some can be addictive and dangerous when abused. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is often very subtle. When someone is in pain, for example, they need to take medication to relieve their discomfort. The problem often arises when they person becomes dependent on them. What often happens is they try to stop "cold-turkey", and end up using the drug to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.
Prescription drug abuse is the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than as prescribed; or for the experience or feeling it causes. It is not a new problem, but one that deserves renewed attention. For although prescription drugs can be powerful allies, they also pose serious health risks related to their abuse.
Read this Los Angeles Times article
The Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
Available options for effectively treating addiction to prescription drugs depend on the medication being abused. Approaches to treating pain reliever addiction are drawn from research on treating opiate addiction, and include medications combined with behavioral counseling.
A recent large-scale clinical trial supported by NIDA showed that Suboxone (Buprenorphine + naloxone), prescribed in primary care settings, helped about half of participants reduce their pain reliever abuse during extended Suboxone treatment. Another promising approach includes long acting formulations of medications, such as Vivitrol, a depot formulation of the opioid receptor blocker naltrexone, recently approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction. With effects that last for weeks instead of hours or days, long-acting formulations stand to aid in treatment retention and abstinence.
Although no medications yet exist to treat addiction to CNS depressants or to prescription stimulants, behavioral therapies proven effective in treating other drug addictions may be used. NIDA is also supporting multiple studies to identify promising medications for stimulant addiction.
Types of Abused and Addictive Prescription Drugs
The most commonly abused prescription medications are pain relievers also known as opioids, including:
Opioids are commonly prescribed to relieve pain. They are often prescribed by doctors to help patients with severe acute or chronic pain. Studies have shown that if taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, opioids are safe, can manage pain effectively, and rarely cause addiction. The problem occurs when they are abused. In fact, painkillers are one of the most commonly abused drugs after tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana.
Central Nervous System Depressants
The next most commonly abused prescription medications are classified as central nervous system depressants. CNS depressants, sometimes referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, are substances that can slow brain activity. This property makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Among the medications commonly prescribed for these purposes are the following:
Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. The more sedating benzodiazepines, such as triazolam (Halcion) and estazolam (ProSom) are prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep disorders. Usually, benzodiazepines are not prescribed for longterm use because of the risk for developing tolerance, dependence, or addiction.
Sleep medications, such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zalepon (Sonata), have a different chemical structure, but act on some of the same brain receptors as benzodiazepines. They are thought to have fewer side effects and less risk of dependence than benzodiazepines.
Barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral), phenobarbital (Luminal Sodium), and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), are used less frequently to reduce anxiety or to help with sleep problems because of their higher risk of overdose compared to benzodiazepines. However, they are still used in surgical procedures and for seizure disorders.
The other classification of abused prescription drugs are known as stimulants. Stimulants are a class of drugs that elevate mood, increase feelings of well-being, and increase energy and alertness. Examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, nicotine, and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), better known as “Ecstasy.”
Cocaine comes in two forms. Powder cocaine is a hydrochloride salt, made from the leaf of the coca plant. “Crack” is a smokeable form of cocaine that is processed with ammonia or baking soda and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant, originally derived from amphetamine. It comes in clear crystals or powder and easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Although most of the methamphetamine used in the United States comes from “superlabs,” it is also made in small laboratories using inexpensive over-the-counter and often toxic ingredients (such as drain cleaner, battery acid, and antifreeze).
Amphetamines, such as Adderall, are stimulants that often come in pill form and are sometimes prescribed by doctors for medical problems, most commonly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Amphetamines can also be abused—that is, used in a way or for a purpose other than as prescribed (e.g., crushed and snorted, "to get high") or used by someone without a prescription.
Methylphenidate, such as Concerta or Ritalin, is another medication prescribed for people with ADHD. As seen with amphetamines, including Adderall, numerous studies have shown its effectiveness when used as prescribed. When it is abused, however, methylphenidate can lead to many of the same problems seen with other stimulants.
Over the Counter (OTC)
Drugs available without a prescription, also known as over-the-counter drugs, are also abused. DXM (dextromethorphan), the active ingredient in cough suppressant is found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications, is one good example. It is used to get high, which requires large doses (more than what is on the package instructions), which is very dangerous.
Malibu Horizon - Top Prescription Drug Abuse Addiction Treatment Center Rehab
The nonmedical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health problem in this country.
Malibu Horizon is a leader in the treatment of prescription drug abuse and addiction. We provide both on-site detox and stabilization as well as an intensive residential treatment program. Our rehab program focuses on the underlying causes of the drug abuse and dependency. Often a person dependent on prescription medication has an untreated psychiatric issue they are self-medicating with illegal prescription medication.
Prescription Drug Abuse Addiction Rehab Treatment Center Program
The elderly are among those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse or misuse because they are prescribed more medications than their younger counterparts. Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. This represents approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population.
While we do not yet understand all of the reasons for the increasing abuse of prescription drugs, we do know that accessibility is likely a contributing factor. In addition to the increasing number of medicines being prescribed for a variety of health problems, some medications can be obtained easily from online pharmacies. Most of these are legitimate businesses that provide an important service; however, some online pharmacies dispense medications without a prescription and without appropriate identity verification, allowing minors to order the medications easily over the Internet.
Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab Treatment Center Facilities
Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed. Abuse can include taking a friend's or relative's prescription to get high, to help with studying, or even to treat pain.
Virtually every medication presents some risk of undesirable side effects, sometimes even serious ones. Doctors consider the potential benefits and risks to each patient before prescribing medications. They understand that drugs affect the body in many ways and take into account things like the drug's form and dose, its possible side effects, and the potential for addiction or withdrawal. For example, doctors know how to change the dose of a painkiller to prevent withdrawal symptoms. People who abuse drugs might not understand how these factors may affect them or that prescription drugs do more than cause a high, help them stay awake, help them relax, or relieve pain.
Some people take other people's drugs for their intended purposes (to relieve pain, to stay awake, or to fall asleep). Others take them to get high, often at larger doses than prescribed, or by a different route of administration. Most prescription drugs come in pill or capsule form. Sometimes, drug users break or crush the pill or capsule, then swallow the drug, sniff it, or "cook" it turn it to liquid and then inject it.
The most commonly abused Prescription Drugs
The abuse of certain classifications of prescription drugs such as opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants can alter the brain's activity and lead to addiction. Prescription drug abuse is the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than as prescribed; or for the experience or feeling it causes. It is not a new problem, but one that deserves renewed attention. For although prescription drugs can be powerful allies, they also pose serious health risks related to their abuse.
Principles of Effective Treatment
1. Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Drugs of abuse alter the brain structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased. This may explain why drug abusers are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and despite the potentially devastating consequences.
2. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual's particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.
3. Treatment needs to be readily available. Because drug-addicted individuals may be uncertain about entering treatment, taking advantage of available services the moment people are ready for treatment is critical. Potential patients can be lost if treatment is not immediately available or readily accessible. As with other chronic diseases, the earlier treatment is offered in the disease process, the greater the likelihood of positive outcomes.
4. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. To be effective, treatment must address the individual's drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.
5. Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical. The appropriate duration for an individual depends on the type and degree of the patient's problems and needs. Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment. Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse can occur and should signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted. Because individuals often leave treatment prematurely, programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.
6. Behavioral therapies, including individual, family, or group counseling,are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment. Behavioral therapies vary in their focus and may involve addressing a patient's motivation to change, providing incentives for abstinence, building skills to resist drug use, replacing drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, improving problem-solving skills, and facilitating better interpersonal relationships. Also, participation in group therapy and other peer support programs during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.
7. Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies. For example, methadone, Buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including a new long-acting formulation) are effective in helping individuals addicted to heroin or other opioids stabilize their lives and reduce their illicit drug use. Acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone are medications approved for treating alcohol dependence. For persons addicted to nicotine, a nicotine replacement product (available as patches, gum, lozenges, or nasal spray) or an oral medication (such as bupropion or varenicline) can be an effective component of treatment when part of a comprehensive behavioral treatment program.
8. An individual's treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs. A patient may require varying combinations of services and treatment components during the course of treatment and recovery. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may require medication, medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation, and/or social and legal services. For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment intensity varying according to a person's changing needs.
9. Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders. Because drug abuse and addiction, both of which are mental disorders, often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s). And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all), including the use of medications as appropriate.
10. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse. Although medically assisted detoxification can safely manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal and can, for some, pave the way for effective long-term addiction treatment, detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicted individuals achieve long-term abstinence. Thus, patients should be encouraged to continue drug treatment following detoxification. Motivational enhancement and incentive strategies, begun at initial patient intake, can improve treatment engagement.
11. Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Sanctions or enticements from family, employment settings, and/or the criminal justice system can significantly increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.
12. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur. Knowing their drug use is being monitored can be a powerful incentive for patients and can help them withstand urges to use drugs. Monitoring also provides an early indication of a return to drug use, signaling a possible need to adjust an individual's treatment plan to better meet his or her needs.
13. Treatment programs should test patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling, linking patients to treatment if necessary. Typically, drug abuse treatment addresses some of the drug-related behaviors that put people at risk of infectious diseases. Targeted counseling focused on reducing infectious disease risk can help patients further reduce or avoid substance-related and other high-risk behaviors. Counseling can also help those who are already infected to manage their illness. Moreover, engaging in substance abuse treatment can facilitate adherence to other medical treatments. Substance abuse treatment facilities should provide on site, rapid HIV testing rather than referrals to off site testing. research shows that doing so increases the likelihood that patients will be tested and receive their test results. Treatment providers should also inform patients that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has proven effective in combating HIV, including among drug-abusing populations, and help link them to HIV treatment if they test positive.
ref: principles of addiction treatment NIDA
Other Resources for Prescription Drug Abuse Rehab Treatment Information
National Institute on Drug Abuse
American Medical Association - Alcohol & Drug Abuse
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration
More NIDA Resources
White House Drug Policy
California Drug Abuse Programs
USA Prescription Drug Help
Family Help - Alanon
Drug Addiction Medline Plus
Prescription Drug Addiction Abuse