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Minnesota Prescription Drug Addiction

Substance use disorders take many forms, including alcoholism, prescription drug abuse and illicit drug addiction. Minnesota prescription drug addiction is a major problem that affects the entire community, with detox and rehab treatment often needed to curb addiction. Widely abused prescription medications include opioids, sedatives, and stimulants, with common brand names including OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium, Klonopin, Adderall and Ritalin. If you know anyone who is living with prescription drug addiction in Minnesota or elsewhere, it’s important to reach out to a drug treatment center and find professional help as soon as possible.

Methods of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription medications are abused whenever they are taken in a different way than intended by a medical professional. People abuse prescription drugs in many ways, with common methods of abuse including taking larger doses than prescribed, combining medications, using medications prescribed for another person, and taking drugs by a different method than prescribed. For example, some people may crush up tablets in order to inject them intravenously or snort them for a stronger effect. Most people obtain prescription drugs through the medical system, with the practice of ‘doctor shopping’, or visiting more than one doctor, often used to enable higher dosage levels. Prescription medications can also be purchased on the black market in some locations, with opioids sometimes sold as an alternative to heroin and stimulants sold as an alternative to methamphetamine.

Statistics of Minnesota Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drugs are a major problem in Minnesota, including opioids, sedatives and stimulants. Prescription opioids represent the most significant issue in the state, representing 8.7 percent of all treatment admissions according to a study called ‘Drug Abuse Trends in Minneapolis/St. Paul: 2015’ produced by Carol Falkowski and Drug Abuse Dialogues. While this number is down from 9.5 percent in 2013, it is up from just 1.4 percent in 2000. Prescription opioids are a major problem with young people and women, representing one-quarter and one-half of all treatment admissions respectively. While sedative and stimulant abuse is not as worrying as opioid abuse, there is a concern that prescription drug abuse and addiction continues to go unreported and untreated.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Opioids are central nervous system (CNS) depressants widely taken for the purposes of pain relief. Commonly prescribed opioid medications include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and hydrocodone. These substances are available both by themselves and as multi-ingredient medications, including the popular brand names Vicodin and OxyContin which also include acetaminophen. People abuse opioid medications for their euphoric properties, with people either over using existing prescriptions or obtaining prescriptions especially for recreational purposes. Opioids can be especially dangerous when combined with other CNS depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. Overdose fatalities can occur from opioid drugs, with an increase in opioid-related deaths recorded in Minnesota and across the United States in recent years.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioids are highly addictive substances that are known to produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. A medical detox period is often advised to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, followed by long-term medication therapy if needed, behavioral therapy and relapse prevention support. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, involuntary body movements, and mental depression. These symptoms are both physical and psychological in nature, with a combination of pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy needed to break the bonds of addiction. Rehabilitation programs are often administered after detox, including individual counseling, group counseling, and motivational programs. Relapse prevention techniques also play an important role during treatment, with patients likely to relapse without access to an aftercare support system.

Sedative Abuse and Addiction

Sedatives are the second most widely abused class of prescription medications. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are both classified as sedatives, including the trade names Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Librium and Serax. Also known simply as benzos, these drugs are widely prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and other anxiety conditions. People abuse benzos on a regular basis for their sedative and hypnotic qualities, with long-term exposure to these drugs often leading to psychological and physical dependence over time. Sedative medications are CNS depressants, with the combination of benzos and other depressants such as alcohol and opioids known to influence overdose rates and create other medical complications.

Treatment for Sedative Addiction

Benzos and other sedatives are known to produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon discontinuation. A medical detox period is often used to help alleviate these symptoms, including sedative substitution programs and dose reduction schemes. While medical detox is an important aspect of drug treatment, rehabilitation measures are also needed to address the environmental and emotional aspects of drug addiction. Typical behavioral models used during rehab include family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and contingency management. Aftercare support programs are also an essential part of treatment, including 12-step facilitation, long-term counseling, SMART Recovery and sober living communities.

Stimulant Addiction and Treatment

Stimulant medications are the third most widely abused class of prescription drugs. These medications are often taken to treat attention deficit hyper-activity disorder and certain forms of obesity, with popular brand names including Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin. Stimulants are abused by people who want to increase performance and enhance their energy levels. These drugs are often taken as a replacement for the illicit substance methamphetamine, with prescription stimulants producing a similar but less potent effect. Stimulants operate in a different way than both opioids and sedatives, stimulating the central nervous system rather than depressing it. A medical detox period is not normally necessary when treating stimulant abuse, with patients often directed directly towards rehabilitation programs.

If you or anyone you know is living with Minnesota prescription drug addiction, you should seek specialized treatment as soon as you can. Addiction specialists can help you get on the path to a happy, sober life.