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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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Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin addiction is a growing crisis in the United States. While illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin remain in the headlines many individuals may be surprised to know that Vicodin addiction could lurk right behind them as one of the most widely-abused drugs of addiction. In fact, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration believes Vicodin may be the most abused prescription drug in the country. Nationwide, its use has quadrupled in the last ten years, while emergency room visits attributed to Vicodin abuse soared 500 percent.

Vicodin® is a narcotic that can produce a calm, euphoric state similar to heroin or morphine--and despite such important and obvious benefits in pain relief, evidence is pointing to chronic addiction. Pure hydrocodone, the narcotic in Vicodin, is a Schedule II substance, closely controlled with restricted use. But very few prescription drugs are pure hydrocodone. Instead, small amounts of are mixed with other non-narcotic ingredients to create medicines like Vicodin and Lortab. This means they can be classified under Schedule III with fewer restrictions on their use and distribution.

Vicodin--one of more than 200 other products that contain hydrocodone--is regulated by state and federal law, but it is not controlled as closely as other powerful painkillers. The lack of regulation makes them vulnerable to widespread abuse and addiction through forged prescriptions, theft, over-prescription, and "doctor shopping." Vicodin pills have been sold for $2 to $10 per tablet and $20 to $40 per 8 oz bottle on the street.

Subject to individual tolerance, many medical experts believe dependence or addiction can occur within one to four weeks at higher doses of Vicodin. Published reports of high profile movie stars, TV personalities and professional athletes who are recovering from Vicodin addiction are grim testimony to its debilitating effects.

Vicodin is structurally related to codeine and is approximately equal in strength to morphine in producing opiate-like effects. The first report that Vicodin produced a noticeable euphoria and symptoms of addiction was published in 1923; the first report of Vicodin addiction in the U.S. was published in 1961.

Every age group has been affected by the relative ease of Vicodin availability and the perceived safety of these products by professionals. Sometimes seen as a "white-collar" addiction, Vicodin abuse has increased among all ethnic and economic groups. DAWN data demographics suggest that the most likely Vicodin abuser is a 20-40 yr old, white, female, who uses the drug because she is dependent or trying to commit suicide. However, Vicodin-related deaths have been reported from every age grouping.

Examples of how severe Vicodin addiction has become:

  • An estimated 7 million dosage units were diverted in 1994 and over 11 million in 1997.
     
  • In 1998 there were over 56 million new prescriptions written for hydrocodone products like Vicodin and by 2000 there were over 89 million.
     
  • From 1990 the average consumption nationwide has increased by 300%. In the same period there has been a 500% increase in the number of Emergency Department visits attributed to Vicodin abuse with 19,221 visits estimated in 2000.
      In 1997, there were over 1.3 million Vicodin tablets seized and analyzed by the DEA laboratory system.
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Source: National Institute on Drug Addiction

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