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Prescription drug abuse an American epidemic

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Prescription drug addiction

With the latest celebrity prescription drug deaths of DJ AM and Michael Jackson, prescription drug abuse is boldly situated on the media forefront, but there are reports that it isn't just celebrities misusing prescription medication. Recent data demonstrates an American epidemic of prescription drug abuse, particularly opiates. We talked to Clare Kavin, executive director of the Waismann Method, who has over a decade of experience working with patients on painkiller dependency, to get the dose on why more Americans are abusing prescription pills and a revolutionary way to stop the prescription drug dependency.

Prescription Pills

Millions of Americans abuse prescription medications

SheKnows: Can you comment on the American epidemic of prescription drug abuse?

Kavin: We have seen an American epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and specifically opiates, in the last decade. Recent data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) demonstrates evidence of this growing problem, with more than 50 million Americans aged 12 or older admitting to non-medical use of prescription drugs.

SheKnows: What population groups are abusing prescription medications?

Kavin: Because the use and abuse of prescription drugs does not come with the stigma of street drugs, we have seen the abuse across the board. Additional data from the NSDUH shows that teens are among the fastest growing population experimenting with prescription drugs, with approximately 2,500 initiates per day. Patients from 18 to 60 are abusing opiates in order to numb stress, take the edge away from difficult situations, and reduce daily pressures.

SheKnows: What are the most commonly abused prescription drugs?

Kavin: Oxycontin is the main prescription drug that we are seeing abused right now. The abuse usually starts with prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Norco or Percocet, and escalates to Oxycontin as the body needs a stronger drug for the same effect.

Being "prescribed" doesn't mean it can't be abused

SheKnows: What is the definition of "abuse"? Taking more than recommended? Taking drugs not prescribed to you?

Kavin: Abuse is, basically, anytime you misuse the drug - that could be using a drug for reasons that it is not intended for, taking more of a drug than what is recommended or taking a drug that is prescribed to you more frequently that what is prescribed. Tampering with a drug in any way can also be considered abuse. For example, breaking, chewing, or otherwise altering a drug so it can be absorbed quicker into the body. 

Prescription drug abuse has appeal

SheKnows: What is the appeal of prescription drugs? Why are teens and adults taking them as opposed to the illegal drugs most associated with drug abuse?

Kavin: Prescription drugs are more accessible than the drugs that we commonly associate with drug abuse – they are easily found in most medicine cabinets and are easily prescribed. Additionally, because they are prescribed commonly for many legitimate pain relief and medical purposes, they don't come with the dirty "drug addict" stigma that society attaches to other drugs, yet they still have powerful effects – opiates can cause sedation and euphoria, and have almost the same high as heroin.

Waismann Method: Breaking the prescription drug habit

SheKnows: I've heard of the Waismann Method being an effective treatment for prescription drug abuse. Can you explain how this prescription drug treatment works?

Kavin: The Waismann Method is a hospital procedure to rapidly detoxify the body from prescription drug addiction or opiate dependency, while under deep sedation and supervised doctor's care. Because opiates cause a chemical imbalance in the brain, these prescription drugs change the production and distribution of natural chemicals that allow you to feel well. The Waismann Method medically reverses this chemical imbalance and eliminates the physical cravings that are the number one reason patients struggling to overcome prescription drug dependency relapse.

SheKnows: Why is the Waismann Method superior to other drug addiction treatments?

Kavin: The Waismann Method is more effective than other methods because it gets the patient through detoxification without the painful and debilitating effects of prescription drug withdrawal. Opiate withdrawal is a long and painful process, which can cause permanent damage to your heart, lungs and brain. Classic detox procedures have a high failure rate due to residual withdrawal symptoms that remain after a three to seven day detox process. The Waismann Method allows most patients to return to a productive life in a matter of days by utilizing the most advanced medical biotechnology available today.

Resources for prescription drug abuse treatment

SheKnows: Is the Waismann Method readily practiced nationwide? If not, where is it practiced and what are the alternatives for those without access to it?

Kavin: The Waismann Method is performed in the intensive care unit of a fully-accredited hospital in Long Beach, California. This location is the only one in the US performing the Waismann Method's expert medical procedure, and the hospital receives patients from all over the world. 

SheKnows: Can you share any resources for people struggling with prescription drug addiction or loved ones of those with an addiction?

Kavin: Please visit the treatment section of our website, www.opiates.com/treatment, for more information on the services and resources available to help treat prescription drug addiction and abuse. The Waismann Method staff is also available at (888) 987-HOPE or (310) 927-7155 after hours and on weekends to discuss how to get help with a prescription drug addiction.

The pervasiveness of prescription drug abuse will continue long after the media spotlight fades from the recent celebrity prescription drug deaths. However, the lack of media attention doesn't decrease the dangers of prescription drug addiction. You may not be a celebrity like DJ AM, Michael Jackson or Anna Nicole Smith, but you are no less vulnerable to overdosing and ending your life.

Celebrity prescription drug deaths

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