Parents Beware: The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Heroin
In recent years, drug abuse and addiction have skyrocketed as more and more people struggle with managing pain. Given the increased consumption of pain pills, it is important that you pay attention to the prescription, management, and use of drugs to protect your loved ones from potential abuses. Keep in mind that drug abuse does not discriminate according to age, race, or socioeconomic status. Further, drug abuse can be the result of various behaviors or experiences, as there is not one set factor that leads to misuse. In order to explore the signs of addiction, and explore solutions for drug abuse, keep reading for key information.
Know the Potential Sources for Drug Addiction and Misuse
When it comes to the abuse of drugs, the cause or catalyst of addiction can be difficult to pinpoint. If you are the parent of an addict or looking to protect your children from misusing drugs in the future, understanding the “why” is important. For example, if your child is struggling with drugs, you may be looking for a concrete answer as to what led your child to their troubling addiction. For this reason, it is important to start at the source.
First and foremost, most forms of addiction start with some type of injury. For example, if you break a bone and need a bone repair it can take anywhere from two to ten weeks to heal. During these weeks, the pain can be unbearable to handle. To help manage the condition, doctors may prescribe strong medication. Although the prescription is well-intended, the use of pain management drugs often leads to severe addiction. It is important to understand that the initial addiction may stem from legal sources but despite this, severe drug abuse can occur.
On a related note, consider that in 2015, more than 218 million people had driver’s licenses in the United States. Given the millions of people driving on the roads at any given time, the likelihood and risk of accidents are high. Much like a broken bone, a severe injury can lead to pill prescriptions. Keeping these potential exposures in mind is important as you need to be aware of the possible scenarios that could result in an opioid or drug addiction.
To protect your family members from these struggles, be sure to ask your doctors questions before any medications are prescribed. Further, consider how you will manage drugs if prescribed to you or a loved one. All in all, be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to the use of strong medications in order to prevent addiction by all means possible.
Pill Use is Problematic, But Heroin is Worse
When addressing potential drug abuse in your family, it is important to understand that there are varying levels of drug abuse. For example, out of every five new heroin users, four of them start with the misuse of prescription pills. This information suggests that when drug addicts are prescribed pills and using them regularly, they run the risk of developing an addiction that spirals later on. Following the consistent use of one drug can lead to your body craving more intense, and addictive, drugs down the road. As a result, this can lead to a severe progression of drug abuse.
Considering this information, it is important that you manage any and all drugs prescribed to your family as exposure to pills can lead to worse outcomes. To assist with management, consider counting pills and keeping a clear record of any and all pills. Additionally, have a conversation with your loved ones about the dangers of drug use as well as a consultation with the prescribing doctor to understand the proper use and distribution of pills. Although this information can be overwhelming, taking the time to understand the misuse of drugs now can help protect your family long-term.
Pay Extra Attention To Youth
In considering the above information, it is important to note that a certain group of people are more susceptible to the dangers of addiction. Specifically, be sure to check in with your children as kids are the group most likely to face drug addiction. For example, research shows that youth commonly misuse prescription pain relievers. This can stem from experimentation, well-intentioned sharing of pills (passed around between friends and family), or intentional misuse. Considering these various opportunities, it is important that you check in with your children and look for possible signs of drug use.
Consider The Solution, Not Just The Problem
Now that you’re aware of the various dangers (and causes) associated with drug use, it is important to consider solutions. When it comes to addressing possible or known drug abuse, it is important that you research as much as possible. There are many drugs on the market and understanding the exact struggle your loved ones are facing is necessary to help them overcome drug-related issues.
First and foremost, consult a professional. If you believe your loved one is abusing medication in any form, it is important to reach out to someone familiar with the signs and treatment for drugs. Second, promote a healthy dialogue with your child or loved one. Letting your family members know that you are a safe space and anything is fair game to discuss can help open the floor for addressing scary issues. In turn, you are more likely to help your loved one overcome addiction. Lastly, pay attention to your surroundings. Drug abuse often starts in “normal” situations. Whether it be a prescription from a doctor or marijuana use with friends, people tend to use drugs in familiar circumstances. By paying attention to the signs, you are more likely to protect your family from long-term addiction.
All in all, addiction is a serious issue that requires knowledge, persistence, and committed action in order to help prevent irreversible medical issues. Consider that taking the time to explore the signs of addiction, as well as the initial causes and solutions of drug misuse, may help save your loved ones in the long run. Be sure to keep the aforementioned facts in mind, as they are sure to help you protect your family members from the dangers and destruction of drug abuse.
IMAGE: A man injects himself with heroin using a needle obtained from the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, the nation’s largest needle-exchange program, in Seattle, Washington April 30, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder