Therapist Schools: Prescription Drug Abuse
Drug misuse and abuse effects all socioeconomic groups and has become a major medical, economic, social, and interpersonal challenge for our society today. As a therapist, it is important to understand and recognize the signs of drug abuse. According to the center for Disease Control, one in 68 people living in the United States abuses substances. and 19.5 million people over the age of 12 use illegal drugs that result in 19,000 deaths per year. Substance abuse is probably one of the most publicized aspects of the pharmaceutical industry; from Michael Jackson, to Heath Ledger many stars have abused prescription drugs and met their end becuase of it. The danger of these cases lies in the fact that doctors have prescribed these drugs, and some are even being held legally accountable for some of these deaths. Patients who are in emotional or physical pain frequently avoid taking medications because they are fearful that they may become addicted to the drugs. One good example of a very addictive pain killer is Oxy cotton. Oxy cotton was approved by the FDA to alleviate pain in 1995. Since then, oxy cotton dependency has continually been rising. Oxy cotton addiction has been compared to heroine dependency, with both drugs deriving from opium.
Rarely do patients become addicted. However, should a dependency develop, therapists and doctors must look for tell tale signs to prevent enabling their clients/patients to abuse prescription drugs, and become addicted. Should a dependency develop, the medication is gradually reduced until the cravings subside. Patients and health care professionals have been known to become dependent on medications. Over the next couple of days we will learn more about drugs that are commonly abused and discuss how a therapist can detect substance abuse.