Prescription Drug Abuse Increase Linked to Pain Clinics
Prescription drug abuse is simply the act of taking prescription medications for a non-medical purpose. This can include taking prescriptions that are not prescribed for you or taking them in dosages or for reasons they’re not intended for.
Prescription drug abuse is becoming an epidemic in the United States. Prescription drugs are the second most commonly abused category of drugs, with marijuana being the only one abused more frequently. The National Institute of Health estimates that almost 20 percent of Americans have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point in their lives. The rates of prescription drug abuse are usually pretty similar between men and women, except in the age group of 12-17 where women are using at a higher rate than men.
Studies also suggest that women are more likely to abuse narcotic pain relievers and tranquilizers than their male counterparts. This is Part One of a series on prescription drug abuse and women that the Destination Hope: The Women’s Program blog will be examining. Please check back with us frequently for the next chapter.
How Did Prescription Drug Abuse Become So Common?
While experts can’t agree on one single cause for the boom in prescription drug abuse, they can agree on several. A large reason is due to the availability of the drugs. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever. Combine that with the emergence of online health pharmacies and these drugs are becoming easier to acquire even without a prescription.
There is also the widely believed but monstrously inaccurate notion that because these drugs can be prescribed legally, they are not as harmful as illicit drugs. Finally we have the emergence of pain clinics, a relatively new phenomenon of the past 20 years that have helped send the prescription drug abuse rates, especially in Florida, through the roof.
Pain clinics were initially developed to be health care facilities that focus on the treatment and management of chronic pain. However, many of them have come under legitimate scrutiny when they’ve been revealed to do little other than over-prescribe highly addictive painkillers at a high premium. These “pill mills” as they’re called have been popping up all over the country, but the majority of them have been found right here in Florida, where until very recently the pain clinic industry has gone completely unregulated.
The state of Florida had no system in place to centrally track the distribution of narcotic pain killers, so addicted individuals could literally go to one clinic after the next after the next after the next and prescription drug abuse ran rampant. Naturally, this attracted drug users and drug dealers alike.
These “dirty” pain clinics quickly realized the financial gain they could make by operating and exploiting drug addicts with appointments usually costing around $300 a pop and many being so blatant as to only accept cash. Some of the biggest violators were making approximately $10,000 a day, or $2.2 million dollars a year, essentially legally drug dealing in quite the lucrative fashion.
Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center for women located in the thick of the prescription drug abuse epicenter of South Florida.
Our clinicians have the first hand exposure to the prescription drug abuse epidemic and have undergone specialty training to be better equipped to treat it. Destination Hope has the tools to help you break free from the tyranny of drug addiction and is here to help you whenever you’re ready. Don’t spend another day with something else in control of your life. Call us for help anytime.