Veterans face greater risk of prescription drug abuse

Veterans face greater risk of prescription drug abuse

As the United States struggles with the misuse of prescription drugs across the country, there has been a significant increase in the number of emergency room visits over the last 15 years, said a 2016 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). And now, even member of the U.S. armed forces, or veterans, are stuck in the web of prescription drug addiction. Veterans are likely to suffer from chronic pain which makes them two times more susceptible to the habit of popping pills.

According to a research by the Department of Defense, the rate of prescription drug abuse among veterans is more than two and a half times that of the general public. With nearly 16 million people in the United States suffering from prescription drug abuse, America has been fighting a tough battle with prescription opioid painkiller addiction in recent times.

The Veterans Affairs (VA) officials highlighted that 50 percent of older veterans suffer from chronic pain, which attributed to 55 percent of the veterans suffering from opioid addiction from 2010 to 2015. While chronic pain, if not treated for long, can increase the risk for suicide, casual use of opioid can also be fatal.

Rising trend of prescription drug dependency among veterans

Prescription drug abuse has risen significantly in the U.S. A study by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed that about 1,130 patients, suffering from chronic pain, were prescribed hydrocodone, a kind of opioid painkiller, by the VA in 2001. However, 12 years later, in 2012, the prescribed drug reached a shocking graph of 47,586, with an alarming increase of 4,100 percent.

When veterans take different pills for different diseases, it is difficult to predict what effect it will have on them. Many young veterans do not question a doctor’s prescription. They usually consider it norm to consume a variety of medications for various health issues, such as sleeping disorders, chronic pain, anxiety, or even mild headaches, which eventually leads to chemical dependency.

Beaky Halstead, a Ret. Brigadier General, while talking to The American Conservative said, “Prescription drugs have become the catchall- ‘take this and if it makes you feel better, we’ll increase the dosage’.”

Dangers of prescription drugs

Painkillers, stimulants and tranquilizers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. However, when an over prescription of drugs reaches sky-high, it can be very difficult to curb the drastic impact of the challenging situation. Abuse or misuse of prescription drugs can be life threatening. According to a 2011 study by American Public Health Association (APHA), both suicidal and accidental overdose doubled the national average during the period.

People who are addicted to opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to get addicted to heroin. With nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths being attributed to prescription drug abuse, opioid painkillers account for the highest number of deaths, followed by benzodiazepines.

Overcoming addiction is possible

Excessive or repetitive intake of opioids causes addiction, due to the dependence of the brain on the substance for release of dopamine. In such cases, sudden withdrawal can cause symptoms like fatigue, depression and disturbed sleep patterns. In order to spread awareness about the rise and cause of prescription drug abuse, the U.S. government is taking major steps to mitigate the drug abuse problem across all U.S. states and help those who are suffering from addiction.

If you or your loved one is addicted to stimulants or any prescription drug and is looking for treatment, you may contact the California Prescription Abuse Helpline for information about various prescription drug rehab centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online for further information on prescription drug addiction treatment in California. Our representatives will guide you through the best rehab centers in California.