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Nebraska Prescription Drug Addiction

Nebraska prescription drug addiction is a serious issue, much like in the rest of the United States. Those battling with prescription drug addiction may have formed a drug habit in various ways. Prescription drugs and medications have the potential to be highly addictive. These addictive substances are usually prescribed to manage acute pain or emotional distress. Many of these types of drugs are not designed for long term use. Yet, an individual can build up a tolerance over time to these medications, forming a dependency. Sometimes individuals begin to augment their medication dosage, but other times might obtain prescription medications illegally for recreational use once their prescription has run out.

Statistics on Nebraska Prescription Drug Addiction

Treatment programs across the nation are aware of the prescription drug epidemic. Therefore, they are fully equipped to provide the support necessary to combat the deadly disease. By knowing what types of prescription drugs are being used illegally and what might be causing the most harm in Nebraska, treatments center around this research. By understanding the needs of addicts in their area, treatment programs will be ready to help when individuals are ready to seek out treatment.

According to the Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, Nebraska has the third lowest overdose mortality rate. This is good news when it comes to individuals who might be using drug illegally that are possibly mixing drugs or unaware of the makeup of drugs they are using, While overdoses are low, there are still those who may be slowly becoming addicted over time and will need treatment. Overdose deaths have tripled in Nebraska since 1999, so this is still a problem, while small, that is on the rise.

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) sees prescription drug use as a top public health concern overall. They also found that only one in ten individuals with substance abuse problems actually find the treatment and care that they need for rehabilitation. This statistic shows that there are so many addicts out there that never seek out treatment, or find the right treatment. There still might be a stigma around prescription drug abuse, or individuals don’t even realize that they have a problem.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

There are a few commonly prescribed drugs that are used to successfully manage pain, but should be monitored and are usually just for short term use. The two types of drug categories are Schedule I and Schedule II. Schedule I drugs are seen as those with no medicinal value, and are mostly illegal in the US. Prescription drugs are those that fall under Schedule II, drugs that can be habit forming but have medical worth and are prescribed. The three main types of prescription drugs are opiates, sedatives and stimulants.

Opiates are a strong pain reliever, and might be prescribed for an individual recovering from surgery or an accident. They are not usually prescribed for a long period of time. While opiates are highly effective, these can also leave an individual in a state of euphoria and can be a habit-forming drug because individuals may continuously try to seek out these euphoric feelings. If individuals use opiates in order to get high, they will need to take more of this drug to achieve the same effects. In this case, a dependency can occur quickly, and more drugs will need to be obtained illegally since prescriptions will not accommodate this level of use. Recreationally, users can overdose on opiates because it can be hard to manage the correct dosage. Commonly prescribed opiates are codeine, Vicodin and fentanyl.

Sedatives can help an individual with acute anxiety or through an overly emotional time. This is not a perception that would be given for a long term mental health issue, but addiction can set in when an individual uses this to mask their illness and becomes dependent. Commonly prescribed and abused sedatives are benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Sedatives can alter the mind over time, and with just one use, users can become detached from reality and may begin to focus their life around their sedative use. Sedative abusers might not see the signs of an addiction forming, since they may think this medication is benefiting an illness in some way, shape, or form.

Stimulants can be used in a variety of ways, and might be prescribed to help with concentration. While stimulants are not seen as a prescription drug that is as dangerous as the others, for those who have an addictive nature, this drug can cause very serious dependency issues. The effectiveness of stimulants is actually what can cause them to be habit forming. By helping a student in school increase their focus (for instance), the student might try to take more for increased effectiveness. This can cause nervousness, anxiety, rapid weight loss and agitation. Popular stimulants on the market today are amphetamines and adderall. It is important that the use of these substances is closely monitored.

Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Use

Admitting to having a problem with substance abuse is extremely difficult. Once this is accomplish and the addict then seeks out treatment, assessing how far along their addiction has become is the next step. Some individuals may have realized they have formed a habit with their current prescription, and can augment this dosage or seek out a different type of medication with their doctor. Others may be so physically dependent, either on a drug that was originally prescribed or used illegally, that detox will be required.

Inpatient treatment programs begin with detox. This is a process that helps individuals withdraw safely and comfortably. Those suffering with both a substance abuse disorder and co-occurring mental health issue will need specialized attention. If individuals were taking drugs for pain or anxiety, they will need a more complex, individualized treatment regimen. Detox can be overwhelming for addicts, especially those who have been dually diagnosed. Having a safe, supportive environment to recover will be key.

For long term recovery success, it will be important for an individual to uncover the root of their addiction to prescription drugs. If these drugs were masking or compensating for particular painful, underlying emotions, these feelings must be addressed during therapy. It is highly recommended that individuals keep moving forward with both therapy and pain management techniques (if necessary) after inpatient treatment is complete.

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