These characteristics don’t always have to be present for someone to be addicted to prescription drugs.
(press release: summitbehavioralhealth) // New Jersey // Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC | Chief Clinical Officer
Drug addiction doesn’t discriminate. People from all sorts of backgrounds and social groups are affected. Sadly, overdoses continue to spiral upward with each passing year. In 2015, over 50,000 Americans died due to drug overdoses — the highest number ever recorded. Moreover, certain classes of drugs caused a staggering number of deaths. Heroin deaths jumped by 23 percent. Opioid-related deaths increased by 73 percent. Drug Overdoses caused by OxyContin and Vicodin increased by four percent.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated, “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this.”
These grim statistics have led researchers to examine the demographics of drug overdoses. By learning which people are more vulnerable to overdoses, we can take steps to help them, as well as intervene when we suspect a loved one is exhibiting signs of an addiction.
Study Identifies Characteristics of Those More Likely to Overdose
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine analyzed 254 deaths of individuals age 18 and older. The purpose of the study was to attempt to identify which people are more likely to suffer an unintentional prescription drug overdose.
Researchers found that people with the following characteristics had a higher risk of overdosing on a prescription drug:
More likely to be middle-aged and Caucasian
Reside in a rural community
In the year before their death, over 87 percent had been prescribed a prescription painkiller by a doctor
Over 31 percent had obtained painkillers from more than one doctor
More likely to have financial problems, a disability, or mental illness
More likely to smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs
The study also revealed that over 91 percent of the individuals studied had obtained the medication from a healthcare provider.
What You Can Do to Help
If your loved one, spouse, or friend is showing signs of a prescription drug addiction, don’t ignore it. Furthermore, these characteristics don’t always have to be present for someone to be addicted to prescription drugs. Just because you don’t observe any of the signs identified in the study doesn’t mean your loved one isn’t struggling with a prescription drug addiction.
If you believe someone close to you is misusing their prescription medication, don’t be afraid to speak up. Many addicts are too embarrassed or afraid to ask for assistance or to admit they have a problem. Although you may be reluctant to say something, you might be the turning point that causes your loved one to get the help they need.
About Summit Behavioral Health Today
Summit Behavioral Health has both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people overcome prescription drug addiction. Our experts have helped people conquer opioid drug addictions with lasting success. Our programs are personalized and medically supervised. Call our behavioral health professionals today to speak to a substance abuse expert about a program that will help you reclaim your life.
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