WARNING SIGNS OF PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLER DEPENDENCY
Most commonly prescribed painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin, Methadone, Darvocet, Lortab, Lorcet and Percocet), while offering relief from pain, can also cause individuals’ bodies to start “needing” the drugs in order to feel just “normal.”
Here are ten warning signs to watch for if you think someone you know may be experiencing a dependency on these drugs:
1. Usage increase: increase of one’s dose over time, as a result of growing tolerant to the drug and needing more to get the same effect.
2. Change in personality: shifts in energy, mood, and concentration as a result of everyday responsibilities becoming secondary to the need for the drug.
3. Social withdrawal: withdrawal from family and friends.
4. Ongoing use: continued use of painkillers after the medical condition they were meant to relieve has improved.
5. Time spent on obtaining prescriptions: spending large amounts of time driving great distances and visiting multiple doctors to obtain the drugs.
6. Change in daily habits and appearance: decline in personal hygiene; change in sleeping and eating habits; constant cough, running nose and red, glazed eyes.
7. Neglects responsibilities: neglect of household chores and bills; calling in sick to school or work more often.
8. Increased sensitivity: normal sights, sounds and emotions becoming overly stimulating to the person; hallucinations.
9. Blackouts and forgetfulness: forgetting events that have taken place and experiencing blackouts.
10. Defensiveness: becoming defensive and lashing out in response to simple questions in an attempt to hide a drug dependency, if users feel their secret is being discovered.
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Fact Sheet on Prescription Drug Abuse
- “Older Americans fight drug abuse,” 3 Jul 2008, International Herald Tribune
- “Methadone rises as a painkiller with big risks,” 17 Aug 2008, New York Times
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- “Warning on painkillers,” 4 May 2007, Financial Times
- 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- “Depressants,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information
- ABC of drugs, channel4.com
- A Brief History of Opium, opioids.com
- OxyContin Information, National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug Information
- OxyContin: Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Info Facts: Prescription Pain and Other Medications
- National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report, “Prescription Drugs, Abuse and Addiction 2001”
- “Some Commonly Prescribed Medications: Use and Consequences,” National Institute on Drug Abuse
- National Institute of Justice, Drug and Alcohol Use and Related Matters Among Arrestees, 2003
- U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Drug Facts: OxyContin,” and “Prescription Drug Facts & Figures”
- “New Report Reveals More Than 1000 People Died in Illegal Fentanyl Epidemic of 2005-2007,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- “Teen OTC & Prescription Drug Abuse,” teenoverthecounterdrugabuse.com