Abuse of prescription painkillers has increased in the last several years, and unfortunately that means there has been an increase in overdoses. Anyone who abuses any drug is at risk of an overdose, but there are several groups who may be more susceptible to it when it comes to prescription painkillers. At Legacy Freedom, we see all sorts of addicts at our center for alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC. This means we have a front row seat to these groups.
Medicine prescribed to manage pain includes drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Demerol, Lortab, generic forms of codeine and others. They are prescribed for different reasons, including moderate to severe chronic pain, or temporary relief from pain caused by a medical procedure. They are also prescribed to people with terminal illnesses such as cancer in order to manage pain.
Some people become addicted to them and begin taking more than the recommended dose. Others obtain the pills illegally, or by “doctor shopping” where they go to various doctors in order to stay supplied with them. Either way, anyone who abuses prescription pain pills is more likely to accidentally overdose. Let's take a deeper look. For alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC that you can trust, be sure to call Legacy Freedom. We help families from all walks of life.
Who's Most Likely to OD on Painkillers?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled statistics on the groups – based on location, gender, race and age – who are most likely to overdose on prescription painkillers.
Adults age 45-54 have the highest rate of overdose of prescription pain relievers. The CDC did not make a correlation, but that age group could be given prescriptions more often because of health issues related to getting older.
People who are on Medicaid are prescribed pain killers at a much higher rate, so they also have a higher rate of overdose. They are six times more likely to overdose.
White, American Indian and Alaskans are more likely to overdose than other races. Another statistic that relates is that one in 10 American Indian or Alaskans had used a prescription painkiller recreationally (or for non-medical reasons) in the year prior to when they were surveyed. In comparison, only one in 20 white people and one in 30 African Americans reported they had taken a painkiller for a non-medical reason.
Men are still more likely to overdose overall, but there was a significant increase in cases of women overdosing on prescription painkillers. In a 2013 report, the CDC said that women have had more cases of overdose than men in recent years. This was not the case several years ago, and they can’t pinpoint why.
Between 1999 and 2010, the cases of overdose increased 400 percent and only 265 percent in men. There were over 6,000 women who died from overdoses in 2010. They note that while prescription drugs were part of the reason, often the people who overdosed were found to have other things in their system such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.
One reason for the increase in overdoses among women could be because women suffer from more chronic pain conditions. The overdoses are likely due to trying to manage pain, not because of addiction or recreational use. They surmise that the numbers would be greater if overdoses were due to abuse.
Chronic pain disorders that tend to affect women more than men include fibromyalgia, migraines and joint pain. Women may also suffer from endometriosis, a disorder that causes pain because of extra tissue growth in and around the reproductive organs.
Are you addicted to prescription pain pills? Give us a call at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. There is no reason to be afraid to get help. Our caring admissions counselors can answer any questions you may have. We offer outpatient programs designed to let you continue to work and meet family obligations. Call us today to discuss the many treatment options we offer for alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC . We want to be a part of your recovery from addiction.
Another group that is at risk of overdose is those in recovery. The National Library of Medicine reports that people who have recently detoxed are more likely to overdose because withdrawal reduced their tolerance to the drug. If they relapse, they may take the same amount they would before they had gone into treatment and it may be too large of a dose for their bodies to handle.
Detox alone is not recovery from addiction. It needs to be part of a whole treatment program that addresses not only the physical dependence but also the psychological aspects of addiction. The mistake that many make is thinking that once the detox process is over, they are free of their addiction. They can be much more vulnerable to relapse because they have not worked through the issues surrounding their addiction. They have also not learned the tools they need to break their addiction and stay clean.
There are a few options for preventing overdose of prescription pain medicine. One, suggested by the CDC, is a prescription monitoring program, or PMP. It is a way to monitor use of prescription pain pills by tracking how the pills are dispensed. This can prevent people from “doctor shopping.” The PMPs are often used by government agencies. The information is obtained from pharmacies to track who is being prescribed pain medicine.
Those who have been in recovery and are at risk of an overdose due to a relapse should seek help, either from their former rehab center or a sponsor or mentor. They should also be aware of triggers and try to avoid them. Attending support groups regularly can help reduce the urge to return to old habits. They should also remember that should they take drugs, they should not take the amount they would have before they got clean. Their bodies are not capable of handling the same amount as before. Some may even want to keep Narcan, the opioid antidote, handy in case the worst happens. The drug is available over-the-counter in some states, but someone will need to be trained on how to use it properly.
Legacy Freedom - Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Raleigh NC
Do you have questions about the different types of addiction? Call Legacy Freedom Treatment Center today to get the answers you need about our alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC. An admissions counselor is waiting to talk with you about substance abuse and recovery. We offer outpatient programs designed to let you continue to work and meet family obligations. Call us today to discuss the many treatment options we offer. We have alternative therapies not found in other facilities that allow us to offer you an individualized program. Call our Raleigh rehab center to get started.