If you think you are not or cannot be a drug addict simply because you do not use such drugs as cocaine or heroin, then you are mistaken. The greatest drug problems in the US are the abuse and misuse of prescription pain medications, which is why the Federal Drug Administration recommends stricter regulations on their access. Since 1999, there has been a sharp increase in deaths related to overdose of narcotic painkillers. These drugs kill 45 people every day while cocaine and heroin combined kill over 20 people a day. It is therefore important for you to know the most addictive painkillers on the market.
Drug addiction refers to a condition where drug users lose self-control with reference to the drugs they use, and their use of the drugs harm them, their families, and society. According to many studies, factors predisposing to drug addiction are personality disorders and contact with drugs that cause pleasurable mental reactions. Many people who become addicted to painkillers start using them out of curiosity.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are among the most abused and addictive drugs. These drugs are also known as opiates or narcotics, and they are made from opium that is extracted from the poppy plant. Natural opium products are codeine and morphine while synthetic variations include:
Other opioid painkillers are Propoxyphene, Oxymorphone, Oxycodone HCL, Meperidine, Hydromorphone, Bitartrate, Fentanyl and Hydrocodone, which is the most prescribed drug in the US.
Opioids relieve pain by minimizing the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain and affecting areas of the brain that control emotion. People who strictly take them to relieve pain are unlikely to get addicted. When the drugs are taken in high doses either orally or via injection, however, they have an intoxicating high effect.
Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
- Respiratory depression
- Slurred speech
- Clammy skin
- Itching skin
- Dry mouth
- Small pupils
- Poor judgment
Central Nervous System depressants are also known as either tranquilizers or sedatives because they slow down brain activity. Although these medications may be used to manage pain, they are often prescribed for sleep disorders and anxiety.
Examples of CNS depressants include:
- Benzodiazepines: Stronger benzodiazepines like estazolam and triazolam are used to treat sleep disorders while milder ones like alprazolam and diazepam are used to treat pain, acute stress reactions and anxiety. They are prescribed for short-term use because they can develop addiction, dependence and tolerance.
- Barbiturates are generally used for seizure disorders and in surgical procedures because they have a higher risk of overdose than benzodiazepines. They include Phenobarbital, pentobarbital sodium and mephobarbital. The drugs, which cause unusual excitement, have serious health risks, including dangerous neurological symptoms, psychic regression and impairment of both emotional control and mental ability. Unfortunately, the number of individuals addicted to barbiturates in the US is increasing.
Addiction to painkillers has become an increasingly serious health concern. Addicts seek the painkillers compulsively, and they cannot overcome the problem without professional treatment. If they are not treated, the sufferers will lead miserable lives, and the condition can easily become fatal.
Some of the medications have serious withdrawal symptoms and require professional detox and long periods of inpatient rehabilitative therapy.