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Prescription Pill Abuse – The New Gateway Drug

Marijuana has been known as the gateway drug for years. However, it is now in second place to prescription pain medication. Pill abuse was up thirteen percent in 2009. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) expects the numbers to climb into double digits each year. Most of these pills are being obtained legally through doctors and pharmacies all over the United States and being sold on the street for incredibly high premiums. OxyContin addiction is a huge problem and dealers are getting anywhere from $50 to $80 for a single pill. This is a pill that with a prescription, would cost you less than $10.00.

OxyContin addiction takes a skilled team of experts to help a person overcome it. The body actually starts to produce very-real pain when it goes without the medicine; pain the user never had before starting the drug. Vista Taos Renewal Center in Taos, New Mexico works to help addicts feel more comfortable during the sometimes painful detoxification process. Massage therapy, meditation, equestrian therapy, yoga and acupuncture, as well as medication to help with nausea are all good ways to treat the side effects of withdrawal from OxyContin addiction.

Other prescription drugs being sold on the streets are Vicodin, Percocet and other various blends of acetaminophen and opiates. The problem with continued pill abuse with these blended narcotics is the risk of liver and kidney damage. Acetaminophen is dangerous when taken often. Many people who are suffering from pill abuse are taking three to four times more than it is prescribed. The pain-relieving narcotic has its own negative health risks, but acetaminophen has recently been shown in studies reporting on just how dangerous this simple, over-the-counter NSAID can be. It should not be taken more than needed. OxyContin addiction does not deal with the acetaminophen health risks however, because it does not contain it. Many confuse generic oxycodone to be the same as OxyContin, but note that oxycodone is the generic form of the brand-name: Percocet, an acetaminophen-blended narcotic.

Studies prove that every age group is showing a rise in pill abuse in America. Teenagers take them because they feel it is a safer high than something like heroin or alcohol, simply because a doctor can prescribe it, or they have seen a parent or grandparent take them without incident. Seniors are also more at risk for addiction now than ever. The increase over the past few years in addiction for fifty years and older is steadily climbing. Chronic pain and depression are often the triggers for pill abuse for our elders.

OxyContin addiction is serious. Taking something to get high simply because a doctor can prescribe it does not make it safe. The exact numbers on OxyContin overdoses are not available, but because of pill abuse, the NIDA reports about 20,000 people die because of their pain pill addiction. This drug is similar to the effects of heroin. Often, when a person cannot obtain a supply of OxyContin, they will substitute heroin it its place and vice versa. It is a very powerful drug.

Not everyone who takes OxyContin will become addicted. Not everyone who takes it should be considered a drug addict. OxyContin is a very effective drug to treat chronic pain and a recent drug study showed that out of 38 chronic pain sufferers, two people became addicted to the drug after long-term use. These individuals also had a history of drug addiction. When taken properly and under the care of a physician who knows the proper way to prescribe the drug and monitor their patients, the drug is simply a good tool to treat pain. Signs of OxyContin addiction are:

  • Anxiety/Mood Swings
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Involuntary spasms, often in the legs
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and Bone Pain
  • Cramping
  • Lack of appetite
  • If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for pill abuse, please get help immediately. There are ways to deal with chronic pain; you do not have to choose between OxyContin addiction or a lifetime of pain. Under the right care, you can manage pain from illness or injury or from withdrawals from the drugs. You do not have to suffer alone with addiction.

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    COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos Renewal Center continues to be our highest priority. Due to the national rise in cases of COVID-19, all potential clients entering the Vista Taos program shall be tested for the virus and must receive their results prior to admission. Vista Taos continues to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Health, adhering to the highest standards of care for our clients, and will provide subsequent testing after admission as needed. For assistance in finding the most efficient testing sites, please contact our Director of Community Relations, Jeremy Lihte, at (575) 425-1913
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