10 Signs of Painkiller Abuse
When we learn about the casualties of the American Civil War, we typically hear of the 620,000 killed in combat or who died as a result of accident or disease. What we less often hear about its the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who had the mixed fortune of surviving the war only to find themselves suffering from a crippling addiction to morphine, the powerful painkiller which was used to liberally in the absence of any effective cure for many of the illnesses and injuries which befell the troops. This story serves as an example of the fact that painkiller addiction is nothing new. Americans have been struggling with pain medications for around 200 years on record, but it has become an increasingly serious problem in recent years. “Today, young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription pain relievers, stimulants and tranquilizers,” says Narconon International president Clark Carr. “They do it to get high. But because they falsely believe that the drugs help them. But even worse, last year 12,000 Americans died from unintentional overdose on prescription drugs. That’s over 30 deaths per day.” If you have reason to suspect that your spouse, your child or another loved one may be abusing painkillers, it is important to learn the signs so that you can take preventative action now:
- Sedation – Painkillers are opiate drugs, meaning that they are very similar to heroin and are derived from opium. As such, they cause a high in which a person will often appear to be sedated, may be drowsy or may slur his or her words.
- Highs and Lows – A painkiller addict is liable to suffer swings from the euphoric highs to the desperate lows. At times, he or she may feel that all is well in the world, while at other times the person might be subject to all sorts of pains and upsets.
- Running Out of Pills Early – If your loved one has a prescription for painkillers, you should be worried if the prescription runs out ahead of schedule; this is a clear sign of abuse.
- Visiting Multiple Doctors for the Same Condition – You may discover that your loved one is seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor, a trick known as “doctor shopping,” which has the purpose of obtaining more of the drug than would be available with a single prescription.
- Missing Pills – If you have a prescription for painkillers, you should be worried if you seem to be coming up short and running out of pills early; someone in the household is most likely stealing pills for nonmedical use,
- Empty Prescription Bottles – Have you found empty prescription bottles lying around? Your spouse or child may be obtaining pills from another source for purposes of abusing the drugs.
- Syringes – Painkiller abuse normally starts out with simply taking more pills than directed by the doctor, but a serious addict will normally graduate to crushing the pills to mix them in a solution that can be injected with needles for a more direct and powerful high.
- Crushed Pills – Another way of abusing painkillers is to snort the pills, and this requires crushing them up into a fine powder. You may find residue of pill dust lying around.
- Compulsive Behavior Concerning Medication – Does your loved one seem to obsess over his or her pills, always keeping track of them and centering his or her routine around the next dose? Does the person act very protective of the medication?
- Continuing to Use After the Condition Is Handled – The clearest, yet most likely to be hidden, sign of painkiller abuse is that the person is still taking the medication after the treatment for which it was prescribed has been handled. If your loved one is still using the drugs, you can assume that he or she has started abusing and may be addicted.
Don’t take chances with painkiller abuse. These medications now kill more people every year than both heroin and cocaine combined. Take action now to safeguard the health and happiness of your loved one.