A Elements Behavioral Health Guide to Drug Rehab
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Prescription Drug Abuse
Page 11

A new government study shows that more people are getting treatment for prescription drug abuse than they were ten years ago, and alcohol treatment is increasing after declining for several years.

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In a collaborative report released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of North Carolina, and Duke University Medical Center, it was revealed that accidental overdoses from prescription opiate-based pain medications such as OxyContin killed more people in 2007 than heroin and cocaine combined.

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The use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes has been increasing over the last decade, and the profile of a typical drug addict is starting to change as well. Now, treatment programs are seeing many over-50 individuals addicted to prescription drugs originally prescribed to treat chronic pain or anxiety problems.

The changes are registering in other ways as well. From 2005 to 2009, there was a significant increase in emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts by women aged 50 and older. There were 11,235 visits in 2005 and 16,757 visits in 2009, an increase of 49 percent.

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When we think of the words ‘addiction’ and ‘drug abuser,’ images of grandma and grandpa don’t come to mind. The elderly are often overlooked when it comes to the subject of drug misuse and abuse. However, as the baby boomers age and take various medications to counter aches and pains, the likelihood of prescription drug misuse increases.

Because aging can be hard on the body, those over the age of 65 account for 33 percent of all prescription medications dispensed in the United States. Also, since aging individuals usually take a variety of medications together to treat various ailments, the potential for dangerous or even fatal side effects increase. This combined with the fact that many elderly also suffer from memory lapse, can make the potential for overdose even worse.

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A trend of pharmacy robberies nationwide seems like a distant problem, until it hits close to home. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports the pharmacy robberies in 2010 at 81 percent higher than the rate in 2006.

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The proportion of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has reached a harrowing level – so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dubbed America’s current prescription drug situation a “public health crisis.” In 2007, drug overdoses were the second leading cause of accidental death; only car accidents claimed more lives. The deadliest drugs are opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone and street drugs including cocaine and heroin.

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We Understand Your Confusion

What type of drug rehab is right for me? Will my loved one stay in treatment long enough to get the benefits of rehab? Will my insurance cover drug rehab?

You have questions. We have answers.

Take some time to review DrugRehab.us and learn about your treatment options. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused, please pick up the phone. Our expert advisers are here to help.

Whether you decide on an outpatient drug treatment program or an inpatient residential drug rehab, you are making a choice to move forward with your life. You are choosing to reclaim your life from drugs and alcohol.