“Pills mills” are all over the news. What are pill mills? According to CBS News, pill mills are places where doctors provide prescription pain medication without medical exams or testing. The most often obtained prescriptions are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, (both are Opiods). Persons addicted will go through just about any hoops to obtain it either by doctor shopping (which means going to multiple doctors seeking pain meds), buying them off the street, ordering online, or even steal from family, friends and neighbors. Sometimes, the addiction begins as the result of a physical condition. Other times, the addiction results from experimenting with illegaly obtained drugs. The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) created a Prescription Drug Abuse Chart for more detailed information.  According to the NIDA, the three types of drugs most commonly abused are

  1. Opioids (used for pain relief)
  2. Sedatives or tranquilizers
  3. Stimulants

NIDA also stated in 2009, “16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer or stimulant or sedative for non-medical purposes in the past year, prior to be being surveyed.” The problem of prescription drug addiction appears to be growing. Routinely, there are articles about Florida’s pill mill problem, as well as articles about the heartbreaking consequences of prescription drug addiction in the news. On the front page of The Orlando Sentinel just this week are two articles about Florida’s “pill mill” problem called “How Did Florida Become a Pill Mill Hotbed,” and Fathers’ painful bond – they lost sons to overdoses to prescription pills.

Fathers’ both lost their sons to Prescription Pills

How can you tell when a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs?

1. Intense craving for it; typically from the side effects of the pain pills.  Morphine has serious withdrawals within 3-4 hours.

2. Using the drug regardless of the harm it does to you

3. Problems with close relationships

4. Problems with work

5. Problems with the law

What can you do about it!

The elected officials in the state of Florida are currently working to address this growing problem legislatively. In the meantime, while these harmful prescription drugs continue to be relatively easy to obtain, here are some suggestions:

If you suspect a prescription drug addiction, know there is help available. If the addiction came about as a result of a medical problem, competant medical professionals can help by changing prescription medications to non-addictive prescriptions, and can assist a person to taper down medications in a controlled, supervised manner. Seeking counseling while going through the process is also helpful. If the addiction came about as the result of experimentation or peer pressure, center such as The Center For Drug Free Living, can be of help. There are also private hospitals and programs you can access via the Behavioral Health portion of your health insurance. Once the person has detoxed and can leave an inpatient or intensive program, support groups like AA continue to be the most effective support for those dealing with addiction.

Groups meet multiple times per day, every day, 365 days per year. To find a group near you, please visit Alcoholics Anonymous website. (Note: even for drug addiction, AA groups are good because NA groups (Narcotics Anonymous) can attract drug dealers. It’s not uncommon for drug dealers to wait outside of NA groups as members disperse drugs.

For more information, websites by the following groups can be helpful:

Parents Against Prescription Drug Abuse

National Institute on Drug Addiction

In the greater Orlando area, resource is The Center for Drug Free Living.

If you suspect a drug overdose, or do not know what combination or how many pills your loved one taken, call 911 immediately.

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