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Painkiller Addiction

Today, more and more individuals are using painkillers such as oxycontin and vicodin for all kinds of chronic pain conditions such as cancer, arthritis, or injuries. These painkillers prescribed to patients with pain act just like morphine or heroin once they hit the bloodstream. The drugs are carried to the brain and affect receptors to cause the pain to be ignored in a way. However, with painkiller addiction the more the drug is abused the greater the risk for chemically changing the functions of the brain. Some individuals may have a painkiller addiction accidentally such as seniors that are in severe pain and only want the pain to cease, whereas others love the well being high that accompanies opiate drugs.

All across America painkiller addiction is growing, which is a sad side effect of modern medicine. This growing problem is causing an uproar in law enforcement agencies, between medical professionals, and throughout the education system. In 2007, for first time users of a little over 2 million people the choice of drugs were painkillers. Over one and half million individuals were addicted to painkillers as well and non-heroin opiates were about 10 percent of those entering drug treatment centers.

As the baby boomers become older, more painkillers will be found in medicine cabinets all across America, allowing the risk of more and more painkiller addiction problems, from those wanting to rid their body of pain and from those stealing the drug from family members and friends. Some painkillers, such as oxycontin causes very high intense cravings, which can lead to violent behavior if a person cannot get their hands on the drug thus the reason for pharmacy robberies.

If you believe, a loved one has a painkiller addiction problem you should watch for signs such as weakness, confusion, sleepiness, nausea, dizziness, slow breathing, seizures, and small pinpoint seizures. For those that are snorting or shooting the drug into the veins you will notice a redness of the nostrils or needle marks.

Painkiller addiction treatment is the same as for any other opiate. In most cases, it will include medication, counseling, and behavioral modification. The drugs often used for those suffering from painkiller addiction in the detox period include naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone. Withdrawal from pain killers can start within just a few hours of the last dosage, professional medical supervision is needed to ensure the addict does not have life threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Today, in the United States there are over 13,000 drug rehab and alcohol treatment centers, however, at this time only a few offers medication treatment for painkiller addiction or other opiate addiction. In order for a facility to be able to administer the needed drugs for recovery from painkiller addiction, the doctors must be certified. In the majority of cases, a person with a painkiller addiction will need to visit a drug detox center prior to receiving drug abuse treatment. A good treatment program will include a detox program along with counseling.

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