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Drug Addiction News

Nation's ER's Report: Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Up

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabThe number of drug-abuse related visits to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) involving benzodiazepine medications exceeded 100,000 in 2002, a 41 percent increase since 1995, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Nearly half of the emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazapines -- which include such psychotherapeutic sedatives as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan -- were connected with suicidal ideation, gestures or attempts.

> Read the Nation's ER's Report
 

Prescription Drug Abuse in The Military

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabToday, some of the most pressing substance-abuse concerns in the U.S. military involve prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some health officials contend that too many troops are being authorized to take antidepressants and sleeping pills, while others are worried about the illicit sharing of prescription drugs and the overuse of OTC meds by men and women in uniform.

> More on Prescription Drug Abuse in the Military

For Many, Stress Leads to the Use and Abuse of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco...

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabSome of the Basic Facts
Stressful events can have a direct affect on the use of alcohol or other drugs. Stress is a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, as well as to relapse or a return to drug use after periods of abstinence.

Stress is one of the major factors known to cause relapse to smoking, even after prolonged periods of abstinence.

Children exposed to severe stress may be more vulnerable to drug use. A number of clinical and epidemiological studies show a strong association between psychosocial stressors early in life (e.g., parental loss, child abuse) and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and substance abuse in adulthood.

> More on Stress Related Usage
 
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OxyContin Diversion and Abuse

The abuse of oxycodone products in general has increased in recent years. In April 2000, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study, which examined two data collection sources. The DEA Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) data tracks the distribution of oxycodone and other opioid analgesics and the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Medical Examiner (ME) and Emergency Department (ED) data ascertained the health consequences associated with its abuse from 1990 to 1996. The JAMA study found a 23 percent increase in the medical use of oxycodone with no corresponding increase in the illicit abuse of the drug. However, 1998 DAWN ME data reported a 93 percent increase in oxycodone mentions between 1997 and 1998 and the number of oxycodone-related DAWN ED mentions increased 32.4 percent from 1997 (4,857) to 1999 (6,429).

OxyContin ® is designed to be swallowed whole; however, abusers ingest the drug in a variety of ways. OxyContin ® abusers often chew the tablets or crush the tablets and snort the powder. Because oxycodone is water soluble, crushed tablets can be dissolved in water and the solution injected. The latter two methods lead to the rapid release and absorption of oxycodone. The alcohol and drug treatment staff at the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Prestonsburg, Kentucky, reports individuals who have never injected drugs are using OxyContin ® intravenously and they have never seen a drug "proliferate like OxyContin ® has since May 2000." The staff at this center has over 90 cumulative years' experience conducting drug evaluations.

OxyContin ® and heroin have similar effects; therefore, both drugs are attractive to the same abuser population. OxyContin ® is sometimes referred to as "poor man's heroin", despite the high price it commands at the street level. A 40 mg tablet of OxyContin ® by prescription costs approximately $4 or $400 for a 100-tablet bottle in a retail pharmacy. Street prices vary depending on geographic location, but generally OxyContin ® sells for between 50 cents and $1 per milligram. Thus, the same 100-tablet bottle purchased for $400 at a retail pharmacy can sell for $2,000 to $4,000 illegally.

OxyContin ® is, however, relatively inexpensive for those covered by health insurance, since the insurance provider covers most costs associated with doctor visits and the prescription. Unfortunately, many OxyContin ® abusers whose health insurance will no longer pay for prescriptions and who cannot afford the high street-level prices are attracted to heroin.
 

Opioids, Pain, and Addiction

Addiction to opioids used for legitimate medical purposes under a qualified physician's care is rare. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however, many physicians limit prescribing powerful opioid pain medications because they believe patients may become addicted to the drugs. Recent evidence suggests that, unlike opioid abusers, most healthy, nondrug-abusing patients do not report euphoria after being administered opioids, possibly because their level of pain may reduce some of the opioid's euphoric effects making patients less likely to become abusers.

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Source: National Institute on Mental Health

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