Chances are you do. According to CBS News, one out of 10 people have abused prescription drugs. In fact, a staggering amount of prescription pain medication was sold last year, enough to give every one living in the U.S. a 300 milligram dose. So why are we popping so many pain pills? Three reasons:
- As the population gets older, they get more aches and pains. The elderly account for over one-third of prescription drug sales.
- Doctors are more focused on pain management whereas they used to believe that pain was simply part of the healing process.
- One last factor: Marketing. Pharmaceutical companies have a 30 billion dollar annual marketing budget.
So how far will people go to get their pills? One man cited in the article had his wife drive over his leg so that he could get a prescription. Right now, the two biggest drugs people are abusing are Vicodin and Oxycontin. which is sometimes called “hillbilly heroin” because the abuse began in rural areas. People are getting pills over the internet, from street dealers, and three million doses are stolen from pharmacies annually! There are also “pill mills,” clinics that write prescriptions without checking for symptoms. A lot of people go on the pills for legitimate reasons, then get hooked.
So how do you know if someone has a problem? Addictive behaviors are things like lying, hiding pills, obsessively counting them, making unnecessary emergency room visits and constantly “doctor shopping.” If you think you may have a problem, ask yourself three simple questions:
- Have you ever felt annoyed by remarks your friends or loved ones made about your use of prescription drugs?
- Have you ever felt guilty or remorseful about your use of prescription drugs?
- Have you ever used prescription drugs as a way to “get going” or to “calm down?”