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KIMT NEWS 3 – According to a new study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the U.S.
It’s not difficult to believe when it seems like everywhere we turn there’s another ad for a new drug.
Addiction counselor, Lorrie Young is seeing a change in our country’s prescription drug usage.
She said, “I think we have become a society that if you look even at the commercials on television, it says if something hurts or something doesn’t feel good, take a pill and that will fix it.”
And more people are turning to that as a fix.
According to the CDC “Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month.”
When prescription drugs are taken according to a doctor’s instructions, they’re usually safe – and are sometimes very necessary, but the abuse of certain types can become a problem.
Young said, “Some of the synthetics opiods such as Oxycontin Oxycodone, percocet…pain medications, the narcotics.”
Even local medical professionals say there’s a need for a cultural reboot of how we take care medical issues.
Britt Medical Clinic’s Doctor, Julie Larson said, “Sometimes we see prescription abuse in pain medications, we’re all very leery of that. We watch for that. For depression for example, the answer is not always a pill, a lot of times the answer first is counseling or behavioral therapy or something along those lines.”
And for those who do go on certain medications, there’s a need to be aware of the risks of addiction:
Young said, “The experience of addiction has a strong biological and genetic component to it. For example, we know that if someone has a close family relative with addiction issues, they’re 400 times more likely to develop addiction issues if they use a substance in a high risk way, than if they don’t have that genetic background.”
Abusing prescription medications isn’t only a health risk, but it’s an expensive habit to maintain. Even some who actually need those medications are cutting back.
Dr. Larson said, “Cost is definitely a factor for a lot of us for medications. If we don’t have to pay more than we have to and if we know there is a cheaper alternative out there, that’s something we definitely want to try.”
Dr. Larson says for those who use those medications properly, there are ways to help cut down on those costs.
She said, “There are generics, a lot of programs out there that can help patients. I know there’s drug assistance programs, there’s a lot of $4 lists and cheaper medications.”
But with more and more medicines popping up on the market every day, most agree “quick fixes” are not always effective.
Young said, “I do think we want to be a society that looks holistically at management of health issues, whether it’s physical health or emotional health or health as it relates to a substance abuse disorder.”