Drug abuse and addiction is a worldwide problem. Every year, countless lives are lost to overdose, accidents, violent crimes and health problems as a result of drug abuse. In America, the trend has been an alarming increase in prescription medication abuse, namely opiate painkillers, although benzodiazepines are also an issue.
Prescription medications have always been a part of the overall drug problem, but in the last decade, this problem has reached a critical level. Prescription medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Codeine and others are being abused by people from all walks of life and all ages. While this is an issue that affects the entire country, there is one state that reports a much higher level of prescription drug abuse than the national average: Indiana.
Why is Indiana struggling so much right now? And, what is being done about it? While prescription drug abuse is something that affects everyone from kids to senior citizens, the 18 – 25 age group is strongly affected.
Prescription drug abuse among teens usually starts in the home. Prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Codeine are found in the medicine cabinets of parents, grandparents and other family members. Parents don’t realize that these medications pose an enormous risk for their children, who start taking them or may give or sell them to other kids at school.
For young people, prescription drugs may be more accessible than illegal drugs. And, because they come from a pharmacy and are prescribed by a doctor, there is less fear and stigma than there would be with drugs like heroin or cocaine.
Indiana is also facing a problem with drugs in the workplace. Although teens and college-age kids are a primary risk group, working adults are also struggling with prescription drug abuse. Recent reports show that a startling number of employees in Indiana companies have dealt with, witnessed or been affected by prescription drug use in the workplace.
This has no doubt had a significant impact on productivity, safety and workplace health and morale.
The problem is that people frequently have a casual attitude about taking painkillers. They are legal, they are prescribed by a doctor and they are easy to get.
Adults who suffer from accidents, injuries and chronic conditions are frequently prescribed opiate painkillers like Vicodin or Oxycontin. These drugs are highly addictive, even when used as directed. Tolerance and dependence can develop quickly, and psychological addiction goes hand in hand. Someone taking pills for pain may not realize that they have developed an addiction until they try to quit. Even after they know they have a problem, they may continue using because they want to avoid getting sick. Employees are afraid to ask for help or admit they have a problem for fear of losing their jobs. Quitting abruptly without help involves detoxing and withdrawal. This means missed work — again, something that puts your job at risk. Once caught in the grips of addiction and dependence, there can seem to be no way out.
Fortunately, Indiana is looking at ways to address workplace prescription drug abuse. It isn’t always easy, though, to separate what is legitimate prescription drug use from abuse.
Another alarming trend in the state of Indiana is an increase in reported cases of HIV, apparently due to the use of the semi-synthetic opiate medication Opana. This is an extended-release tablet that users inject, and in addition to the increased cases of overdose and addiction, HIV is rapidly rising.
While prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem across the country, Indiana has been hit particularly hard. There are likely a number of factors, and they may not all be revealed, however it is suggested that part of the problem may be a lack of treatment and psychiatric resources. If getting help is difficult, then the problem will go unchecked. While prevention is always a good thing, there must be equal attention given to outreach and treatment. People will continue to struggle with prescription drug abuse, so it is important that there be help available so they can get better.
Stigma, guilt and shame are huge barriers to getting help. People often don’t want to believe they have a problem, or admit that they need help. Friends and family watch helplessly as their loved one spirals deeper into addiction. There is a way to help, though. An intervention can be the catalyst for healing and change. If you know someone who is struggling with prescription drug abuse, enlisting the help of a professional intervention specialist can help them and your family.
Interventions work in over 90% of cases — a huge success rate. The presence of an impartial third party can work wonders, and can help to break through the denial, guilt, anger and other defenses that can prevent people from getting the treatment they need. Not only that, but interventions also help facilitate healing and understanding within the family unit.
If you are concerned about a friend or family member, you don’t need to wait for the problem to get worse. Intervention Services, Inc. can help you. Call 1-877-478-4621 today.