The California Prescription Drug Addiction Helpline is committed to helping those who struggle with prescription drug addiction find treatment. These resources will provide readers with articles and up to date reports on issues regarding drug addiction and treatment. Check back often for new and exciting material.

Spotlight on treatments: Individual Addiction Counseling

Spotlight on treatments: Individual Addiction Counseling

Individual Addiction Counseling (IAC) is a one-on-one process between a recovering addict and a personalized counselor. The development of the IAC model was sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a component of outpatient addiction treatment. IAC focuses on stopping the abuse of all substances as well as addressing aspects of recovering addicts’ lives that may cause them to relapse, such as unemployment or family dysfunction. Patients learn coping skills that will allow them to resist cravings and maintain their abstinence once counseling has been completed (Darthmouth College, “Individual addiction counseling (IAC): Clinician manual”). Continue reading

How doctors are reducing prescription drug abuse

How doctors are reducing prescription drug abuse

Prescription drugs are designed to treat the most serious health conditions, yet they also kill more Americans by overdose than all other drugs combined. Doctors have become increasingly aware of the danger that prescription drugs can have on their patients. While most patients have a legitimate need for medication, others are more interested in satisfying their addictions or making money on the black market by reselling the drugs they receive. Today’s drug climate requires doctors to balance their roles as medical caregivers as well as drug gatekeepers. Medical professionals do their part to keep drugs out of the hands of addicts in a number of ways (CNN, “How physicians try to prevent ‘doctor shopping’”). Continue reading

The deadliest drugs are prescription painkillers

The deadliest drugs are prescription painkillers

When people talk about dangerous drugs, they’re usually talking about illegal street drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Surprisingly, these narcotics are not responsible for the most deaths per year. The deadliest drugs in America are legal. Prescription painkillers cause more deaths than all other drugs combined. Before taking any prescription opioid, it’s important to understand the risks of medication abuse. Continue reading

Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Nasal spray

Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Nasal spray

Most people don’t think of nasal spray as a dangerous drug, but abuse can lead to surprisingly serious medical consequences. Nasal decongestants are used to temporarily relieve congestion caused by allergies. These sprays, including brand names such as Afrin, can be purchased over the counter at any drug store. Over-use of the sprays, however, can cause major damage to a person’s nasal pathways (Over the Counter Drug Addiction, “OTC Nasal Spray Abuse”). Before using nasal sprays, one should understand the consequences of abuse.

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Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: DXM

Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: DXM

DXM is one of the most common drugs in America as well as one of the most commonly abused. Dextromethorphan, typically called DXM, is the active ingredient found in most over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. Almost half of all over-the-counter drugs sold in America contain it, making it extremely cheap and easy to acquire, particularly for teens. According to a 2008 study, about 10 percent of American teens have abused DXM to get high (WebMD, “Teens and DXM Abuse”). Unfortunately, the drug can be surprisingly dangerous when abused.

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Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Sleeping pills

Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Sleeping pills

Everyone wants a good night’s rest, but sometimes the pursuit of eight blissful hours of sleep can turn into a nightmare. Prescription sleeping aids are well-known for their risk of abuse and addiction, but over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills also carry their own dangers. Medications like Excedrin PM, Sominex, Restoril and Tylenol PM can be purchased from drug stores and supermarkets in any quantity and without a doctor’s prescription, but great care should be taken with their use.

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Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Ephedrine diet pills

Over-the-counter drugs of abuse: Ephedrine diet pills

Prescription drug abuse is the most deadly type of addiction in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, however, even medication sold over the counter (OTC) can result in addiction or cause other serious problems. One commonly abused type of OTC drug is diet pills containing ephedrine. Many people might take ephedrine to lose weight or for recreational purposes without realizing how powerful the drug really is. Using too much of the drug or using it too often can have surprisingly dangerous consequences.   Continue reading

Opiate addiction causes observable changes in the brain

Opiate addiction causes observable changes in the brain

Opiates are powerful drugs that cause feelings of intense euphoria. While some forms of opiates are illicit drugs, such as heroin, legal versions include prescription medication used to treat health conditions such as chronic pain. Unfortunately, abuse of both illegal and legal opiates can be extremely dangerous. Overdoses from prescription painkillers alone resulted in more than 22,000 deaths in 2013 (National Institute of Drug Abuse). Addiction to opiates has become an epidemic in the United States, sending medical professionals scrambling to learn more about the effects that opiates have on the brain. According to Science Daily, scientists at Western University have recently discovered a “switch” in the brain that might be the key to opiate addiction. Continue reading

FDA has released new goals to curb opioid abuse

FDA has released new goals to curb opioid abuse

While prescription painkillers were designed to heal, they have rapidly become the most dangerous drug in American society. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more people are killed by opioid overdose than by heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, the FDA’s findings state that more than 15,000 Americans died from prescription painkiller abuse in 2009, a figure that has tripled over the last 20 years. Continue reading