How to Identify a Serious Prescription Painkiller Addiction

a person holding a pill

The opioid crisis provoked by prescription drug use that’s sweeping North America has claimed the lives of many and presents an economic burden. Opioid use and addiction are at their worst in the United States. Between 1999 and 2017, over 700,000 Americans died because of drug overdoses. In 2017, over 70,000 deaths were due to overdose. An estimated 68 percent of these deaths involved prescription opioids and illegal opioids. On average, opioid overdoses cause fatalities of 130 Americans a day (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

As reported in the Canadian Drug Summary, 13 percent of Canadians used opioid pain relievers (2017). Among those who used opioid pain relievers, two percent used them for nonmedical reasons. On average, opioid poisoning caused 13 hospitalizations a day in 2014 and 2015. In Canada, opioid use caused an estimated 2,800 deaths in 2016.

The typical use of prescribed medications and opioids is to treat acute and chronic pain. However, some people use prescribed painkillers for reasons other than their intentions. Abusing prescription painkillers by using them for nonmedical purposes and with increased frequency, can lead to addiction, harm, and death by overdose.

People may acquire prescription painkillers from a single physician or several. To get medication from several different physicians, people refrain from informing each physician that they have a current prescription. Other means of obtaining prescribed drugs include prescription fraud and forgery, internet purchases, street drug markets, and illegal sales, and theft.

In some cases, people incur problems with prescription drugs following an injury. When injured in an accident, many people may receive prescriptions for medication, that unfortunately, can be the catalyst to an addiction. Many people are unaware that they could get compensation for addiction, depending on the circumstances. If someone can prove that injuries obtained in a personal injury are the direct cause of developing an addiction to painkillers, they may have a case. People must demonstrate that they weren’t prone to developing an addiction and didn’t struggle with pain medication in the past. For information and advice on what constitutes a legal case, people should seek personal injury insight and consult law professionals, such as those at Moore Law Firm.

Prevalent drug abuse makes it necessary for people to know how to identify signs of prescription drug addiction.

Multiple pill bottles with labels from different doctors should raise suspicion, as visiting many doctors to get medication prescribed can be a sign of addiction. An addict is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t using a drug. For this reason, erratic mood swings where someone is high and euphoric one moment, and irritable and unpleasant the next can be another sign of addiction.

Prescription painkiller addiction can drive people to engage in dangerous behaviors, neglect their responsibilities, and cause the potential failure and destruction of major organs. Addictions can have mental risks such as depression, decreases in cognitive function, and paranoia.

Identifying a severe addiction to prescribed painkillers is the first step to someone getting the help they need. Weaning yourself off drugs and overcoming addictive behavior is hard to do alone. For this reason, someone should agree to treatment from professionals. People battling addictions in Canada and the United States can seek treatment at the Canadian Centre for Addictions (Rehab Finder). The CCFA treats drug and alcohol addictions and offers individual and group counseling, and inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment. This rehabilitation center provides medically supervised detox treatment, and personalized treatment programs tailored to clients’ unique needs.

Having the encouragement and support of family and friends can have a positive impact on recovery. A reliable support system that encourages healthy habits and avoiding harmful substances is essential to overcoming addiction. People who forgive themselves, and learn from their mistakes and past addictive behaviors can move on and commit to sobriety with confidence and motivation. Knowing the signs of a serious prescription painkiller addiction enables people recovering from addictions and loved ones to intervene and encourage someone to get the help they need.