Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How Prescription Drug Addiction Is Represented in the Media

How Prescription Drug Addiction Is Represented in the MediaPrescription drug addiction is a massive and growing public health crisis in the US and around the world. In fact, over the last several years, the abuse of prescription medication has increased dramatically. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die annually due to prescription medication abuse and overdose than heroin and cocaine combined. Media coverage of this phenomenon is increasing but is lacking in many ways.

Types of Prescription Medication Abuse

Most media coverage of prescription addiction focuses on individual celebrities who have struggled with the disease. Rock stars, actors, politicians, and other culture-shapers grab headlines, but most prescription addicts are normal, everyday people. Grandparents, mailmen, teachers, police officers, doctors, and even ministers can find themselves dependent on any of the following medications in a short amount of time:

  • Narcotic painkillers (hydrocodone, OxyContin, morphine)
  • Sleeping aids (tranquilizers, sedative hypnotics)
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antianxiety medications

Newspapers and television media outlets breathlessly cover the antics, failures, and struggles of addicted celebrities while most prescription addicts never did anything more reckless than filling a legitimate prescription given to them by their doctor.

Common Myths about Prescription Addiction

The following myths are frequently propagated by the entertainment media regarding prescription drug addiction:

  • Addiction to these drugs is often the result of impulsive young people seeking an easy thrill.
  • Pill addiction mostly seems to affect people of lower social and economic status.
  • Anyone who does not simply quit taking pills when told to is of weak character or lacks discipline.

Many people who become hooked on prescription medications have no previous history of abuse or addiction. It can be difficult for these people to understand that they have a problem and to seek help. They may not fully understand the scope of their addiction and may feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit to it.

Effectively Treating Prescription Drug Addiction

Addictive prescription medications affect the same part of the brain as alcohol and other addictive drugs. Because this disorder is both physical and psychological, a comprehensive and integrated treatment plan is required if lasting recovery is to be achieved. Though each individual patient’s needs are carefully factored into a unique treatment regimen, the following therapeutic elements are often a part of the process:

  • Personal counseling and coaching
  • Group meetings
  • Medically supervised detox
  • 12-step programs (when appropriate)
  • Introduction to enhanced coping techniques

These programs are often most successful when experienced in an inpatient or residential format for at least one month. In some cases, however, outpatient treatment can be highly effective. Specially trained admissions coordinators can help you decide which type of treatment program is right for you.

If you would like to receive more information or to be connected personally to a recovery program that is uniquely positioned to help you end your need for prescription drugs, please call our toll-free helpline today. We are standing by 24 hours a day with free, confidential advice and referrals to the best treatment centers available. Call now.

banner ad