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Doctor’s Orders: Problems with Prescription Drug Abuse

Three prescription drug bottles that can lead to prescription drug abuse.Recognizing a prescription drug abuse problem can be difficult, especially since it is often a trusted doctor that’s prescribing the drugs. Currently, prescription drug abuse has hit an all time high. Millions of Americans are misusing prescription drugs. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, there are more people abusing prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and ecstasy combined. The problem of prescription drug abuse is serious.

The tricky thing about prescription drug abuse it is that, yes, there are traditional drug dealers, online pharmacies and other black markets that sell prescription drugs like codeine, Vicodin or OxyContin. But the real suppliers are doctors, prescribing drugs for pain, anxiety, and more. At ExecuCare, we’ve seen the number of prescription drug abusers climb in Atlanta and the rest of the country. And lately, we’ve seen in the media a rise in the number of deaths surrounding prescription drug abuse: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger. Sometimes it’s not just the amount of the prescription drug being abused but the combination of drugs that causes a lethal cocktail.

One sign that prescription drug abuse is present is “doctor shopping.” This is when an individual visits multiple doctors to try and obtain the same prescription without a problem of abuse being detected. In July 2009, CNN ran an article called “Using Dentists as Dope Dealers”. The article reported the increasing problem of “dentist-shopping”. While most primary care doctors asked patients to schedule an appointment to discuss pain, the article found that dentists often prescribed medication over the phone for toothaches and other mouth pain. Some people were even targeting veterinarians for pain medication. For doctors with patients complaining of pain, it is difficult to assess what is real or what is an attempt to get the prescription drug of abuse.

More common signs of prescription drug abuse are:

  • Taking someone else’s prescribed drugs.
  • Visiting multiple doctors for the same or similar prescription.
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose.
  • Combining medications without discussing risks with doctor.

At ExecuCare, we are well-equipped to handle prescription drug abuse. Not only does our detox program safely and quickly help someone stop the use of prescription drugs, but we have the necessary resources to help stage an intervention and guide someone through treatment. We also have an extensive after-care program that helps ensure long-term recovery.

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Addiction Recovery Center
1100 Poydras Street, Suite 2900
New Orleans, LA 70163
Main: 770.817.0711
Fax: 770.817.0640