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Louisiana Prescription Drug Addiction

A wide range of psychoactive substances can potentially be abused, including alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs. While illegal substances such as heroin and methamphetamine get the majority of media attention, prescription drug abuse and dependence is a huge problem across the United States. A number of detox and rehab programs have been set up to tackle Louisiana prescription drug addiction, with residential and out-patient facilities available across the state. If you or anyone you know is struggling with Louisiana prescription drug addiction, it’s important to reach out to a professional treatment center as soon as possible.

What is prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is a big problem across the United States, with people over using and misusing legitimate medications on a regular basis. Prescription drugs are abused whenever they are used in a different way than intended by a doctor or medical professional. Common ways to abuse prescription medications include: taking larger doses than prescribed, combining medications without prescription, buying drugs or prescriptions on the black market, and visiting more than one doctor in a practice known as “doctor shopping.” People may also abuse prescription medications by crushing up pills and tablets in order to snort them or inject them intravenously. If you are worried about the prescription drug habits of a friend or family member, it’s important to speak with a professional drug treatment counselor as soon as you can.

Louisiana Prescription Drug Abuse Classes

The majority of Louisiana prescription drug abuse falls into three distinct classes: opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. Opioid painkillers are the most widely abused class of prescription drugs, including the naturally occurring opiates codeine and morphine and the semi-synthetic opioids oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. Sedatives are the second most widely abused class, including benzodiazepine medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Stimulants are the third class, including the attention deficit hyper-activity disorder drugs Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. While it is possible to abuse other medications, the vast majority of abuse falls into these three categories.


Louisiana Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Louisiana prescription drug abuse and dependence is a big problem. 52 million Americans have abused prescription medications at some point, including 8.76 million during the past year and 6.1 million during the past month. Rates of abuse and dependence are recorded in all American states, with Louisiana scoring 6 out of 10 on a new policy report card produced by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).  The number of drug overdoses in Louisiana, the majority of which are for prescription drugs, has tripled in Louisiana since 1999, illustrating the very real dangers of Louisiana prescription drug abuse. Prescription painkillers cost America an estimated $53.4 billion a year in lost productivity according to the report, with dedicated detox and rehab centers needed to break the cycle of abuse.


Opioid Abuse

Opioids are the most widely abused class of prescription drugs, with opioid medications taken legitimately to treat acute pain conditions and abused recreationally for their euphoric qualities. Opioid drugs are highly addictive, with people exposed to these medications over a long period of time likely to experience a challenging physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild physical disturbances through to severe medical complications, including abdominal cramps, involuntary limb movements, insomnia, and extended periods of nausea and vomiting. Opioids are associated with both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, with some people experiencing a prolonged period of depression and anxiety when they stop drug use.

Treatment for Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Medications are widely used to treat opioid dependence, including other opioids and opioid-antagonist drugs. Methadone is often applied during detox and rehab to help alleviate and manage withdrawal symptoms, with long-term methadone therapy also administered in the context of opioid replacement therapy. While this form of therapy has been criticized for enabling secondary opioid addictions, it does help people to avoid problematic drug exposure. The opioid agonist-antagonist drug buprenorphine is also prescribed in certain situations, with the opioid antagonist naltrexone also used.  Behavioral therapy is also widely applied to treat prescription opioid abuse, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, and various forms of motivational and behavioral management.

Sedative Abuse

Sedatives are also known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including the barbiturate and benzodiazepine drug classes. While barbiturates have been widely abused for many decades, benzos represent a much more significant problem in the 21st century. Commonly abused benzodiazepine drugs include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Librium and many more. These medications are taken throughout Louisiana and across the United States for the treatment of anxiety disorders and some forms of insomnia. Benzodiazepine medications are also widely abused, with people seeking out the sedative and hypnotic properties of these drugs for recreational purposes. Treatment for sedative abuse and addiction includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy, including a gradual dosage reduction of the drugs involved and access to various behavioral modification regimes.

Stimulant Abuse

Stimulants are often abused by people to induce feelings of energy and mental focus, including the ADHD drugs Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin. While stimulants are not physically addictive in the same manner as opioids or benzos, dependent people do experience a significant emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use or dose reduction. Medications are largely ineffective for the treatment of stimulant dependence, with treatment methods typically including behavioral techniques and other methods of psychotherapeutic support. Aftercare and relapse prevention measures are also important in the weeks and months that follow treatment, including 12-step facilitation groups, SMART Recovery, and access to sober living communities.


Get Treatment

If you or anyone you know is struggling with any kind of Louisiana prescription drug abuse, it’s important to reach out and find professional help as soon as you can. Fight your addiction with professional help.