Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Addiction

5 Arguments for Using Meds to Fight Prescription Drug Addiction

When you have a problem with prescription medications, the last thing you want to do is take more pills. While a clean break from pharmaceuticals is often the ultimate goal in recovery, don’t ignore the helpful role some drugs play in recovery. Medications can provide a pathway to a quality of life that might not otherwise be accessible. They can be helpful in detox, early treatment, long-term care, and overall addiction and mental health management.

5 Reasons for MAT:

  1. They help manage detox
  2. They help ease early treatment
  3. They help with treating chronic conditions
  4. They help long-term recovery management
  5. They help improve mental health

Meds Help Manage Detox

Medications can help during the most immediate, uncomfortable stage of recovery: detox.

WebMD explains, “Opioid withdrawal is difficult to endure, and is a major reason for relapse and continued prescription drug abuse. Medications are used to prevent symptoms of opioid withdrawal during detox, easing the person out of physical dependence.”

If detox is a stumbling block to your recovery, consider options such as methadone, clonidine, or buprenorphine. Talk with your treatment team about starting with over-the-counter medications for pain and other symptom management. Discuss your concerns, and make sure medical professionals approve and monitor what you use and when. If fear of withdrawal or health concerns related to detox is keeping you from pursuing an ultimately drug-free or sober life, temporarily adding medications can mean the difference between continued addiction and freedom from substance abuse. Even if you don’t want to use meds during detox, make sure you receive medically supervised detox services. These ensure you have the medical support you need for a safe and successful detox experience.

Meds Help in Early Treatment

Medical doctorRecovery doesn’t end with detox. In fact it has barely begun. Real change starts in early treatment and therapy. Meds can play an important role at this time.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] explains, “If a person is addicted, medication allows him or her to regain a normal state of mind, free of drug-induced highs and lows. It frees the person from thinking all the time about the drug. It can reduce problems of withdrawal and craving. These changes can give the person the chance to focus on the lifestyle changes that lead back to healthy living.”

Medications can give you the mental time and space you need to develop other, long-term coping mechanisms. They give you a glimpse of a drug-free life and mindset. They help you stay in treatment so therapy can take root and you can create change. Once you’ve taken the first steps away from addiction, you can work with your treatment team to wean off of medications or further explore the role they will play in your long-term recovery.

Meds Help Treat Chronic Conditions

There is more to recovery than getting through detox. There’s even more to recovery than sitting through a few therapy sessions. Addiction is a complex, chronic disease. It affects and is affected by all other areas of health and life. It requires long-term attention and treatment.

The U.S. Surgeon General[2] explains, “Substance use disorders are similar in course, management, and outcome to other chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes, and asthma…It is possible to adopt the same type of chronic care management approach to the treatment of substance use disorders as is now used to manage most other chronic illnesses. Evidence-based behavioral interventions, medications, social support services, clinical monitoring, and recovery support services make this type of chronic care management possible.”

Chronic conditions require a comprehensive variety of life changes and health interventions. You wouldn’t refuse medications for other diseases requiring treatment. The same should be true of prescription drug addiction. If your treatment team determines that adding medications to your recovery plan is the best course of action, seriously consider doing so. Don’t expect medications to be a solution to addiction, but do look at them as potential tools.

Meds Help in Long-Term Recovery Management

Addiction is a chronic condition. This means it needs long-term support and management. You may be able to find stability without the use of medications. You may need them in early recovery. You may need to take meds for long-term addiction management. Needs vary from person to person, and they vary throughout your recovery experience. You may need medication support at certain times in life and not at others. You and your treatment team should constantly evaluate and reassess your treatment plan. This plan can be adjusted at any time to include or exclude meds. It should reflect your current recovery needs and these change as you pursue long-term health and wellness.

Meds Help Mental Health

Two men high fiveIf you struggle with addiction, you may struggle with other mental health conditions as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse[3] shares, “people diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely as the general population to also suffer from a substance use disorder. Statistics from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate close to 8.4 million adults in the United States have both a mental and substance use disorder.  However, only 7.9 percent of people receive treatment for both conditions, and 53.7 percent receive no treatment at all.” Treatment may involve medication for addiction, for a mental health issue, or for both. What is important is that all co-occurring issues are addressed fully and appropriately. Leaving any one condition insufficiently treated means opening the door for relapse. It means failing to achieve the stability, health, and quality of life that is more than possible for any individual.

Creating Your Addiction Treatment Plan

Addiction treatment doesn’t have to involve the use of medications. However, individuals should take advantage of any and every tool that will help them on their unique path to recovery. Meds can support early and long-term recovery. They can make it possible for you to achieve recovery success when used in conjunction with behavioral therapy and alternative treatment options. Michael’s House offers comprehensive, Dual Diagnosis care. We help you determine if medication-assisted therapy is right for you. We work with you to create an effective, comprehensive, and individualized treatment plan.

[1] https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA09-4443/SMA09-4443.pdf. “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2011. Web. 30 Mar 2017.

[2] https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf. The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Nov 2016. Web. 29 Mar 2017.

[3] https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/01/severe-mental-illness-tied-to-higher-rates-substance-use. “Severe mental illness tied to higher rates of substance use.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. 3 Jan 2014. Web. 30 Mar 2017.

Vicodin Addiction Fueled by Bold New Internet Scam

Recently, an individual with a Vicodin addiction relayed the following story about buying Vicodin online via an Internet pharmacy:

Because he had purchased Vicodin and OxyContin online in the past, this individual (who will be referred to as “Paul”) had his name and phone number on the call lists of several online drug suppliers.

Internet scamsOne day, a representative from one of those companies called Paul and offered him 90 Vicodin ES for $400. As an added bonus, the caller stated, this addictive product could be shipped via overnight carrier with no questions asked. It was a lot of money, but Paul really felt like he needed the pills. His other online vendor had recently closed shop and hadn’t been heard from in weeks.

Paul was suspicious, as always, of the “hard sell” attitude of this new pharmacy, but his mind was put as ease when they told him that he could simply pay once the medication arrived. This type of “cash on delivery”, or C.O.D. order seemed safer to Paul than paying upfront. If the package didn’t come, or wasn’t what he wanted when it arrived, he could simply send it back and keep his money.

It seemed to be a no-risk situation, so Paul placed his order. He was told to expect the package in two days, so he went down to the bank and purchased a cashier’s check for $400.

Days passed and Paul’s order didn’t arrive. He tried to call the company several times, but was unable to make contact. He was disappointed, and stressed because his supply of Vicodin would soon run out, but at least he didn’t lose any money.

pillsThen, a week later, he got a call from the pharmacy. They told him that there had been some problems with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that the company could no longer process C.O.D. orders. The representative told Paul that if he was willing to send a wire transfer via Western Union that they could arrange for the package to arrive the next evening.

This event gave Paul pause. He didn’t have a relationship with this company, and for the most part, once money has gone through a Western Union transfer (especially to the Dominican Republic as the company had requested) there is no way to get it back. But Paul was almost out of Vicodin and he dreaded the inevitable withdrawal symptoms that would occur once he ran out.Soon, he was willing to take the chance.

He sent the money and immediately could not track down the company. He was in a panic for two days when the representative finally called him. They explained that the wrong package was sent out and was being held at an undisclosed location. There were actually over 300 pills in the order instead of the original 90. As a way to “make good” on the problem, the rep said that if Paul would wire another $300 to the company he could have ALL the pills at a low price.

Now all kinds of warning bells were going off in Paul’s head. This had to be a scam, right? But the customer service rep swore up and down that it was legitimate – and that he SO appreciated the faith Paul had put in them and that he fully knew how important this medication was to him.

Again, yes, once again, Paul trusted them and sent the money. He had now spent $700 plus the Western Union fees. He waited for his package the next day.

But the next day came and went and no Vicodin arrived. Paul called and called but could reach nobody at the company. He left kind messages and rude messages. He simply BEGGED for someone to contact him!

Then he received a remarkable call. An “FBI agent” called Paul and told him that his package had been confiscated and that he was placing charges. Paul was terrified. The agent said Paul would be going to jail. Then, almost by accident, Paul looked at the phone number on the caller ID. The area code and prefix seemed so familiar….and then it hit him. This was a representative of the pharmacy! They never planned to give him his medication – and this was their out.

Paul began to notice all kinds of holes in the agent’s story. The “agent” couldn’t mention what department he worked for or provide a badge number. Paul decided to play along for a bit. Then the “agent” delivered the final insult: he told Paul that all charges would be dropped if he could send a Western Union of $3,800 to settle his case out of court. The only other choice was jail.

So not only had these people stolen $700 from him, they had the nerve to run another flimsy scam hoping to prey upon his fear of going to jail and never seeing his family again.

Once Paul had heard enough he hung up. He had lost his money and his dignity and that was enough for one day.

Online Vicodin scams and phone-order Vicodin scams like this one occur often. Have you had a similar experience? Let us know. And if you’re struggling with Vicodin addiction, contact a drug rehab program in your area and get the help you need today.