Drug Addiction Continues to be a Major Expense in Many Parts of the Country


The hand written prescription for 10 oxycodone still remains tucked under the magnet on the side of the refrigerator.
One week to the day after your 22 year old daughter had four wisdom teeth removed, the script serves a sa reminder to just how well the procedure went.
Always an over achiever, your daughter suffered the most pain and the most swelling nearly 12 hours before the oral surgeon’s office predicted she would. At the time you feared that the worse was yet to come, but after a good night’s rest and applying more ice overnight, your daughter woke still swollen but far more comfortable. The high dosage pain prescription was never filled and, thankfully, by the end of the weekend your daughter was ready to return to classes in her accelerated nursing program. It was likely the discussions that she had participated in during pharmacology class that made her so adamant about not filling the prescription even though the oral surgeon had provided it. For only 10 pills, the piece of paper could have been exchanged for some powerful pain relief, but your daughter was fairly determined that she could just control the pain by alternating two different over the counter medications. At the time you were not so sure.
Your daughter has had six previous surgeries. And while two of them were for trigger fingers when she was very young, the other four were the result of gymnastics injuries during her high school and college seasons. Those four surgeries also involved high powered pain medications, and while she did not like the side effects of taking them, you forced her to follow the doctor’s orders and gave her the pills as directed for the first 48 hours.
The Opioid Crisis in America Is in Part Caused by Prescribed Medications
Much like other addictions, there are many people who are dealing with very challenging results of substance abuse treatments after first getting a prescription for legal medications. Unfortunately, addiction can raise its evil head and cause unsuspecting patients to need this pain medication more than they should. As a result, opioid addiction and the resulting substance abuse treatment that follows is a growing concern in many places in the country. A sad point in history is that changes to government recommendations and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies have led to a dramatic increase in the last 25 years in prescriptions of oxycodone for long-term use in patients with chronic pain. And while the pain of many may be real, there are far too many examples of people abusing the medical system and getting one prescription after another to feed an addiction that they hide from their doctors, as well as their friends and family.
The latest research indicates that more than 2 million Americans each year are affected by prescription opioid misuse, serving as an indicator of just how big the substance abuse treatment options need to be in this country. Unfortunately, politicians and government budgets often battle about the way to approach this problem that many feel has been caused by the powerful and ultra profitable drug pharmaceutical industry. With no easy answer in site, there are hospitals and emergency workers across the country who find themselves dealing with problems like they have never seen before. Successful substance abuse treatment plans are neither easy or affordable, and the fact of the matter is there are studies that show that one session or one series of treatment is often not enough. Addicts and their families often enter the expensive and exhausting battle of moving in and out of various kinds of treatment centers five and six times before finding success. Unfortunately, many addicts never recover.
Learning to recognize the signs of heroin addiction, which often stems from an initial addiction to legally prescribed pain medications, is now common for medical workers and emergency responders. And while there are some quick fixes to these dangerous problems they are expensive. As government over sight committees and local police, fire fighters, and ambulance personnel continue to deal with the remnants there are families that also struggle to see the people that hey love so lost.

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