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Prescription Drug Addiction in Missouri


Psychoactive drug abuse takes many forms, including alcohol dependence, prescription drug abuse, and illicit drug addiction. Prescription drug addiction in Missouri is a major problem that requires careful treatment to ensure patient abstinence and promote long-term recovery. Most prescription drug problems are related to three medication classes: opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. These medications affect the body and brain in different ways, with different methods of treatment advised depending on the substance and extent of addiction. If you know anyone who is dealing with prescription drug addiction in Missouri, it’s important to reach out to a specialized drug treatment center as soon as possible.

How are prescription drugs abused?

Prescription medications can be abused in multiple ways. Generally speaking, prescription drugs are abused whenever they are consumed in a different way than intended by a doctor or medical professional. Common methods of abuse include taking a higher dose than prescribed, combining multiple medications together, using drugs prescribed for another person, and obtaining drugs specifically for recreational purposes. Some people also engage in the dangerous practice of drug alteration, crushing up medications in order to snort them or inject them for a stronger effect. People obtain prescription medications in two main ways, either legitimately through the medical system or on the black market. The practice of “doctor shopping” is often used to obtain multiple prescriptions at the same time, with this practice allowing people to use much more than the intended dosage.

Prescription Drug Addiction in Missouri

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem across the United States, with more people experiencing physical and psychological health problems than ever before. Prescription drug abuse is a significant issue in the state of Missouri, which has the seventh highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States at 17 drug overdose fatalities per 100,000 people according to Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). The majority of drug overdoses are due to prescription medications, including opioids like morphine and oxycodone which are potent central nervous system (CNS) depressants. The most commonly abused class of prescription drugs in Missouri are opioids, followed by sedative tranquilizers and stimulants. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription medications are a major problem throughout the United States, with over 52 million people having abused legal drugs at some point during their life. This includes 8.76 people in the past year and 6.11 million in the past month.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Opioid drugs are taken medically for pain treatment and relief purposes. These medications are also widely abused, with between 28 and 38 million people using opioids recreationally according to the World Drug Report 2015. This represents between 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent of the global adult population between the ages of 15 and 65. Common opioid medications include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and hydrocodone among others. Opioids are available as single-ingredient and multiple-ingredient medications, including the popular brand names medications Vicodin and Oxycontin which are combined with acetaminophen. As a CNS depressant, opioids are particularly dangerous when combined with other depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioids are both physically and psychologically addictive, with medications often needed to break the bonds of addiction. Treatment for opioid abuse and dependence includes possible intervention, medical detox, medication treatment when needed, behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, and aftercare support. These measures are typically carried out in a sequential fashion through inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. Because these medications are physically addictive, they are known to cause a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. Possible withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headaches, cramps, and involuntary limb movements. These symptoms can be managed with opioid medications like methadone and buprenorphine. Behavioral therapies also play an important role during treatment, including programs such as art therapy, music therapy, family therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy.

Sedative Abuse and Addiction

Sedatives are another type of CNS depressant, with these drugs typically prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorders. Depending on the context of use, sedatives may also be called tranquilizers or CNS depressants. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the two most common sedative classes. While barbiturates are rarely prescribed in the modern age, benzos are used all the time to treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, insomnia and many other conditions. Benzos have a number of useful properties as a medication, resulting in sedative, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant properties. Common benzos by trade name include Serax, Valium, Librium, Xanax, Klonopin and many more.

Treatment for Sedative Addiction

Sedative abuse and addiction is a serious problem that needs to be treated through a combination of detox and rehabilitation. Sedatives are associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, including severe symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations if left untreated. A gradual dose reduction of long half-life benzos is often administered to support drug discontinuation and withdrawal management, with people tapered off these drugs over a period of weeks or months. Psychotherapy support programs are also used to treat the environmental and emotional aspects of addiction, with programs typically based on either motivational, cognitive, or behavioral methods. Sedative abuse and dependence is a serious issue throughout the state of Missouri and across the United States, with treatment recommended as soon as possible.

Stimulant Abuse and Treatment

Stimulants are the third most widely abused type of prescription drug class on the American market, including Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. Stimulants differ from both opioids and sedatives in that they don’t produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. These medications are most often prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can also be administered for certain extreme forms of obesity. Medication treatment is largely ineffective and rarely used for stimulant abuse, with emphasis instead put on counseling programs and behavioral therapy support. Relapse prevention techniques are also applied during rehab and aftercare programs to ensure a sustainable and long-term recovery process.

Find Professional Help

If you or anyone you know is living with a prescription drug problem, it’s important to find professional assistance in the Missouri area as soon as you can.