"The Accidental Addict"
by Joe Herzanek
In the movie "Requium for a Dream", Sara Goldfarb (played by Ellen Burstyn), a widowed mother, finds herself hooked on diet pills. We watch as her world gradually spirals out of control.
This scenario and others that are similar, are becoming all too common. Teenagers, young mothers, parents and grandparents--all are susceptible to prescription drug addiction.
A prescription drug abuser is sometimes referred to as an "accidental addict."
The Grammy's #1 Song of the Year 2008 was awarded to Amy Winehouse for her song "Rehab". My wife and I watched the show and as far as we could tell, the judges must have really liked the title.
Our recent news features tragic stories of singers, models, movie stars and other well-known celebrities--many who are in trouble with drug abuse, either in rehab, needing to be in rehab, just getting out of, or going back into rehab. Sadly, some are paying the ultimate price for their drug use. What we are also seeing is the abuse of prescription drugs. The famous, along with the not-so-famous, are dying while using legal, often doctor prescribed pain and stress management pills.
Forty years ago, a drug called Valium became popular and was immortalized in a song by the Rolling Stones called "Mother's Little Helper". We now know that this class of drugs called benzodiazapens (Valium, Xanax, Librum, Klonapin) are possibly the most difficult drugs to get off of--even harder to quit than Heroin. We've learned much since 1968.
Legal, tested and FDA approved drugs are just as powerful as street drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, and Methamphetamine. In fact, there is a legal form of Meth called Dysoxin, which is often prescribed for children with ADD.
Many prescribed drugs are helpful for a percentage of those who use them. The pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money from these drugs. There is nothing wrong with making money. The problem is that these drugs are over prescribed and the dependency issue and side effects are not made clear to most users.
A case in point involves one of the most powerful and addictive pain medications on the market--the drug Oxycontin. The manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, promoted the drug as effective and non-addictive. On May 10, 2007, Purdue Pharma reached a settlement, paying 1,100 patients a total of $75 million (no big deal though, since annual sales of Oxycontin have reached $1.5 Billion). (click here for more details on this case)
Advancements in technology and medicine have increased the quality of life for many people, but not for all.
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
or, in the words of Amy Winehouse:
"They tried to make me go to rehab,
but I said no, no, no."
* Have you “tried everything?” Learn about affordable phone counseling for family members dealing with addiction.
MORE ASK JOE:
> Is a relapse—failure?
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>”I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in Fiance’s need to get drunk every night.”
>Should my husband “back off?”
>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction
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