People often assume that prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that these medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with prescription pain relievers and why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when taking them.
How Prescription Painkillers Escalate Into Heroin
Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical mold society has created.
Let’s take a look at an all-too-common scenario that treatment centers are seeing today:
Kristen is a college student and runs track. She’s an excellent sprinter but ends up getting injured in her junior year. She sees a doctor to help manage the pain, and the doctor prescribes painkillers. Kristen has no problem taking them because they are prescribed by someone she trusts. She takes the pills, which work for a while, but then the pain slowly returns.
With final exams and work, Kristen can’t be uncomfortable, so she doubles up on the pills and finally gets some relief. It isn’t long before she builds up a tolerance. Even though Kristen’s pain is getting better, she sees her doctor to get more medication. He refuses. She now has a craving to fill, and she becomes fixated on getting something else. Heroin becomes the next step because it’s cheap, easy to get and has a similar effect as painkillers.
Although Kristen could have never imagined having an addiction to prescription drugs which turned into abusing and becoming addicted to heroin, a prescription drug rehab program in the Bay Area, it’s now her reality.
How Can I Prevent Becoming Addicted To Painkillers?
While prescription pain relievers have a bad rap, the reality is that they do have a purpose. Many people need them at one point or another to provide relief following an injury, accident or operation. It’s possible that you will need them, too, one day. Just because you take prescription pain pills does not mean you will become addicted. There are steps you can take to prevent dependency.
- Don’t take more than the recommended dosage.
- If you notice that you are becoming tolerant to the drug, tell your doctor immediately.
- Take the medication for the shortest amount of time. If you can get by without it, do so.
- Find other ways to manage your pain such as massage therapy, yoga, meditation or magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) baths.
- Properly dispose of unused medicine.
Being aware of the dangers of prescription opioids helps prevent addiction. If you know that what you are taking can be addictive, you’ll be more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations and only use the medicine as necessary.
Summit Estate Recovery Center has a team of caring, compassionate staff that is happy to start you on the journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, we can help. Call us today to learn more.