SPRING HILL, Fla., Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In recent years, medical practitioners have written millions of prescriptions for drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin, which contain compounds derived from opium—one of the world's most powerful painkillers—all in an effort to relieve Americans of the chronic pain resulting from bad backs, headaches, surgeries and many other ailments. However, rampant prescribing practices have contributed to the rise in painkiller addiction and subsequent overdoses, some say. Suncoast Rehab Center (SRC) says that painkiller addiction has created a public health disaster, and encourages a more stringent prescribing process, as well as public education, to counteract addiction's current hold on American society.
SRC Executive Director Tammy Strickling says that people often mistakenly believe painkillers to be a "safe" option, because they are so readily prescribed. However, unbeknownst to many outside of the medical profession, prescription opioids act on the same brain receptors as does heroin, and are extremely addictive (3). Strickling maintains that not only should doctors exercise more caution when prescribing such drugs, but they should also offer alternatives which help patients to eliminate or reduce chronic pain, rather than just masking it with drugs.
Powerful opioids, which have become the standard in pain treatment, are to blame for nearly 17,000 American deaths each year, as well as thousands more cases of addiction and overdose, despite little evidence that they effectively treat long-term pain (1). Prescription painkillers now cause more overdose deaths than do cocaine and heroin combined—and even when they don't bring about fatal consequences, prescription painkillers often wreak havoc on personal lives by leading to unemployment, destroyed marriages and neglected children (2).
"People generally have the mindset that prescription drugs are legal and, therefore, are harmless—but that just isn't the case," said Strickling. "The public needs to be educated in this regard, and it's the responsibility of healthcare providers to supply such education. SRC's main goal is to help individuals who are struggling with addiction to return to a life of sobriety."
Strickling says that while health officials must educate the public, Americans also need to adopt a proactive mentality with regard to their health and safety, when considering prescription drug use. Strickling provides three key questions to ask practitioners before taking prescription painkillers:
1. "What is the likelihood of addiction?" Because some medications are more addictive than others, it's important to understand the probability of becoming addicted to a substance and how to avoid it. Research shows that some drugs trick the brain into craving more drugs while simultaneously damaging the parts that can control those cravings (4).
2. "Do the risks outweigh the benefits?" Find out what the potential side effects are and how commonly they occur—the side effects can sometimes cause symptoms worse than what the drug was meant to treat.
3. "Is there a long-term alternative solution?" Pursue a course of action that treats the source of the pain and eliminates it. Many painkillers mask pain/discomfort, but do little to address the underlying issue.
SRC enables its clients to take the first step in conquering addiction and reclaiming their lives from drugs. SRC's medical team designs treatment programs to physically address the malnutrition created by substance abuse, and the SRC counseling team tailors client therapy to help provide insight into the past—all intended to help addicts confront life better, and without reverting to drugs.
SRC has received a 100% positive rating by the Florida Department of Children and Families for four consecutive years, and will continue its mission of offering effective rehabilitation coupled with drug prevention education.
To learn more about the Suncoast Rehabilitation Center and its rehab programs, call 1-800-511-9403 or visit www.suncoastrehabcenter.com.
Located in Spring Hill, Florida, Suncoast Rehab Center provides long-term residential treatment, intensive sauna detoxification, life skills and cognitive therapy and counseling. Suncoast is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and was recently awarded a 100% inspection score for the fourth year in a row. Suncoast has a mission to educate youth and adults about drugs and their dangers, with the aim of preventing future drug use and abuse. Suncoast handles the physical deficiencies, weakness and problems created through drug use, without the use of additional drugs. Clients are helped to uncover the issues that led to their drug use through counseling, therapy and life skills that put the client back in control of his/her life and future. Suncoast's purpose in drug rehabilitation is to heal the whole person and give the person tools and education to remain drug–free. For more information, visit www.suncoastrehabcenter.com.
1. "The Doctors' Dilemma: Treatment Is a Guessing Game." Local.cincinnatti.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2013. local.cincinnati.com/community/pages/pain2/index.html.
2. Friedman, L.M.S.W., Michael. "Better Pain Management Is Essential for Reducing Addiction to Prescription Painkillers." Huffingtonpost.com. N.p., 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013. huffingtonpost.com/michael-friedman-lmsw/prescription-pain-medicine-addiction_b_4408819.html.
3. Fuchs, Erin. "The Dark Side Of America's Rush Into Prescription Drugs Has Never Been More Obvious." Businessinsider.com. N.p., 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013. businessinsider.com/why-america-has-a-prescription-drug-problem-2013-10.
4. Catan, Thomas, Devlin Barrett, and Timothy Martin. "Prescription for Addiction." Onlinewsj.com. Wall Street Journal, 05 Oct. 2012. Web. 6 June 2013. online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444223104578036933277566700.html.
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