Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

3 Reasons for High Prescription Drug Overdose Rates

3 Reasons for High Prescription Drug Overdose RatesPrescription overdose and addiction rates continue to rise in the US despite extensive educational efforts and other precautions undertaken by law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry. There are several troubling reasons for the increase in overdose and the rising number of people who are addicted to prescription painkillers, sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, and other drugs.

1. Increased Prescription Medication Advertising Drives Abuse

The combination of massively increased advertising of prescription medication and an increased access to medical information outside a doctor’s consultation is causing millions of people to seek out prescriptions from their physicians. This often leads to over-medication and patients taking multiple prescriptions that they obtained from multiple doctors. Many prescription medications are not safe when combined with others, and many patients are not forthcoming about the different medications they are taking. This can increase the likelihood of addiction and overdose as well as interaction complications.

2.  Prescription Addiction Leads to Tolerance and Overdose

Many prescriptions, especially painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, and sleeping aids, are habit forming if taken for an extended period of time. Some people become addicted the first time they take a certain drug due to a biological predisposition toward addiction, but most get hooked when they take more than prescribed or fail to stop taking them when their prescription runs out. As these users develop a tolerance to the drug they need larger and more frequent doses to feel the desired effects. This kind of abuse accelerates the addiction process and greatly increases the chance that the user will take more of the drug than his body can handle.

3.      Recreational Use of Prescription Drugs Continues to Rise

Millions of people take prescription drugs for completely non-therapeutic purposes. These users were never given a legitimate prescription for these drugs. They buy them from friends or dealers, or steal them from parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets and are using these drugs specifically to get high. As their tolerance builds they will need to either increase the dosage or combine the drug with other substances in order to intensify the effects.

Preventing Prescription Overdose

The following steps can help to decrease the likelihood and frequency of prescription drug overdose:

  • Always be completely honest about your medical history and all of the medications you are using with your doctor
  • Share any personal or family history of substance abuse with your doctor(s)
  • Discontinue the use of any prescription medications as quickly as possible and dispose of leftovers properly
  • Secure your prescriptions in such a way that they cannot be accessed by children, neighbors, or friends
  • Never share your prescription medications with a friend or family member without a doctor’s permission

24 Hour Prescription Addiction Helpline

If you are struggling with an addiction to prescription medication please call our toll-free helpline now. Our staff members are standing by 24 hours a day with answers to all of your questions and connections to the most effective treatment program for your unique needs. Prescription overdose is a serious problem that can lead to brain damage or death. We can help you end your dependence on these drugs. Call now.

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