In the United States, prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug abuse and addiction problem and the most commonly abused drug, second only to Marijuana. Prescription Drugs include Pain Killers, which happen to be the most commonly abused Prescription Drug category. In 2007 alone, 2.5 million Americans abused Pain Killers for the first time which was less than 2.1 people abusing Marijuana for the first time that year. While Pain Killers are abused by people all ages, they are the second most popular illicit drug to be used by teenagers, also second to Marijuana. Part of the reason this is, is because teenagers don’t view Prescription Drugs including Pain Killers to be as dangerous as other illicit drugs.

Types of Painkillers

A variety of subscription Pain Killers are abused by people of all ages every day in the United States. The two most commonly abused Pain Killers nationwide are in the Oxycodone classification such as OxyContin and Percocet and the Hydrocodone classification such as Lortab, Lorcet and Vicodin. As far as over-the-counter Pain Killers goes, there are also people abusing those which include Codeine made from Opium; these drugs include Robitussin A-C, Empirin with Codeine and Tylenol with Codeine. Another popular Pain Killer to be abused though harder to reach is Morphine. Morphine isn’t commonly prescribed so it is harder to come by and most people using Morphine recreationally get it illegally off the street as opposed to Vicodin and Lorcet, which are commonly prescribed and then abused. Additional Pain Killers commonly abused are Dilaudid and Demerol.

Painkiller Abuse Signs

Facts about Pain Killer Abuse

While Prescription and Pain Killer drug abuse is extremely common in the United States, it often goes undetected because the majority of people addicted to Pain Killers have a legitimate condition they get the drugs prescribed for. People of all ages and genders abuse Pain Killers though it is more common among women and teens then adults and men. It is also more likely the person abusing the Pain Killers don’t realize they have a drug abuse problem because they have a prescription or they would rather deal with the pain than the consequences.

If you are someone who currently uses Pain Killers, there are some ways to figure out if you are abusing them or addicted to them. For example, if you take more than prescribed, feel the need to take more than previously to get the same effect, take the drugs other than what was recommended, let the Pain Killers take over logical thinking and will go to a different pharmacy to get your prescription filled if one denies you.

Signs of Pain Killer Abuse

There are also common signs of a friend or loved one abusing Pain Killers. These include someone who seems to run out of their pills before the next prescription is due, going to a different doctor to get more of their Pain Killers than what is recommended, ignoring their doctor’s orders for taking the pills, showing behavioral or psychological changes after using the Pain Killers such as having mood swings, irritability or complains of pain when they don’t have it and doing illegal things to get more such as stealing them from others or buying illegally off the street. Additional signs include slurred speech, insomnia, personality changes, flushed skin, increased energy and hyperactivity, clumsiness, sweating and chills, a change in appetite, being secretive, getting into financial or legal trouble, lack of grooming and hygiene habits, doing poorly at work or school and someone who is constantly thinking about taking pills or procuring more.

Painkiller Abuse Treatment

If your friend or loved one is showing any of the above signs, they should get help immediately. Whether they are abusing the drugs or addicted, getting professional help is the best way to overcome the drug problem and move on with their life without this dependence. Drug abuse can very quickly lead to physical and emotional dependence which ultimately leads to addiction. Once they get to this point, it will be more difficult overcoming, but not impossible.

Let them know there are drug treatment centers in their area and that they should get the help they need as soon as possible. Treatments may range between medication, behavioral and cognitive therapy possibly with therapy or counseling sessions as well. The drug rehab center will also provide them with support groups made up of others also addicted to pills who understand what they’re going through and can help them succeed with their recovery program.