Prescription Drug Abuse in Chattanooga, TN
The increase in prescription drug abuse in Chattanooga has become a serious public health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that for every one person who dies from a drug overdose, there are another 851 people across the state caught in a cycle of abuse and/or addiction.
In 2014, more people died from a drug overdose in Tennessee than in car accidents or from gunshot wounds. Almost 72 % of the total overdose deaths in the state involved opioid drugs, including heroin and prescription painkiller medications such as OxyContin, Vicodin, or Percocet.
Of the total opioid drugs listed as the cause of death, almost 50% of them involved a prescription opioid painkiller medication. One of the primary contributing factors for the increase in prescription drug abuse in Chattanooga is the rate of prescriptions issued by medical professionals. Tennessee has the second highest rate of prescriptions per person in the United States, behind only Virginia.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
“Prescription drug abuse” is the term used for taking prescription drugs in any way other than what was prescribed by a doctor. Taking higher doses than the doctor prescribed or taking medications that were prescribed for another person are considered prescription drug abuse.
Likewise, taking any prescription medication for recreational purposes, or in order to get high, is also considered drug abuse.
Why are Prescription Drugs so Addictive?
Prescription painkiller medications are designed to treat chronic or acute pain, so they are intended to act on the central nervous system. The drug binds to the opioid receptors within the brain, triggering an artificial stimulus to release a surge of dopamine into the system.
Dopamine is the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormone, usually released as a reward response. However, when a person takes prescription drugs the brain is artificially triggered and the user interprets the feel-good sensation as a reward for the behavior.
Over a period of time, the brain begins to adapt to the presence of the drug in the system. As a result, the user may feel the need to take higher doses in order to achieve the same effects, which is known as tolerance.
If the user tries to stop taking the drug suddenly, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms may emerge, often causing the user to continue the cycle of drug abuse. At this point the person is considered dependent or addicted.
Health Risks for Prescription Drug Abuse
Abusing any prescription medication can cause serious mental and physical health risks. Long-term use of painkiller drugs can cause significant damage to the liver, kidneys and heart muscle. Some users may develop mental health symptoms such as paranoia, anxiety or depression.
However, 2 of the most problematic health risks include:
- Addiction: Abusing any prescription opioid drug over a period of time can cause significant changes within the brain’s chemistry that lead to addiction.
- Accidental overdose: Most opioid painkiller medications are created from synthesized morphine molecules. Taking any opioid drug comes with a risk of accidental overdose. However, as tolerance levels increase the risk of overdose also rises as the user attempts to take higher doses to get the same effects.
Breaking the cycle of prescription medication abuse or addiction requires specialist rehab treatments. Our Prescription drug abuse programs begin with the detox process to rid the body of the drug’s toxins. A combination of individual counseling and behavioral therapies are also incorporated into our treatment programs in Chattanooga to help address the psychological aspect of the addiction.
Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Abuse
Treating prescription drug abuse in Chattanooga requires specialist assistance from our rehab treatment facility. Our specialized prescription drug abuse facilities offer an outpatient program, where the user must check in each day in order to continue receiving treatment medications.
Replacement medications may be given to the user to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms during the detox process at our detox center in Chattanooga. The patient is also required to attend pre-scheduled counseling and therapy appointments on a regular basis.
While the recovering person is able to return home to maintain work or family commitments, there is still a considerable time commitment involved in outpatient treatments.
By comparison, our inpatient prescription drug abuse facilities offer a safe environment to begin the recovery process. Our inpatient rehab in Chattanooga effectively removes the patient from people, places, or situations associated with addictive drug use.
Receiving treatment in a drug rehab center also provides around-the-clock monitoring to ensure the patient is safe and comfortable throughout the recovery process.
If you, or someone you know is struggling to break the cycle of painkiller abuse or addiction, it’s important to reach out and seek for specialist prescription drug abuse treatment. The first step to recovery is asking for help. Call Chattanooga Drug Rehab Centers now at (423) 799-4292 to learn more about what we can do to help you obtain the life that you want and deserve.