Prescription drugs provide valuable support to Californians who need help managing pain, controlling their moods or improving their concentration. But when drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium or Ritalin are misused, they can produce dangerous, even life-threatening consequences. Taking habit-forming prescription medications may lead to a host of social and medical complications, including:
- Problems with relationships and employment
- Legal and financial difficulties
- Tolerance, dependence and addiction
- Cardiovascular problems
- A fatal overdose, especially when combined with alcohol or other sedatives
The seaside city of Santa Monica is home to a diverse range of socioeconomic and ethnic groups. One thing that all the residents of Los Angeles County have in common is exposure to prescription drugs. In an effort to minimize the risk of drug abuse and overdose, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has organized a “Take-Back” event to allow the public to safely dispose unused, expired or unneeded prescription drugs or over-the-counter (OTC) medications with no questions asked. Thanks to these events, the SMPD reports that over 58,000 pounds of prescription drugs were collected in Los Angeles County in recent years.
Risks of Prescription Drug Abuse
The abuse of psychotherapeutic prescription drugs has become an increasingly widespread problem in California. Pain relievers, stimulants and tranquilizers are the most commonly abused drugs; however, OTC drugs are also misused, especially among teenagers who find them easy to obtain in their household medicine cabinets or at drugstores. Some of the most dangerous OTC medications include the following:
- Cough syrups and cold medications
- Anti-allergy medications containing antihistamines
- Sleep aids
- Stimulants containing caffeine
The California State Task Force on Prescription Drug Misuse notes that the number of unintentional prescription drug overdoses rose by 113 percent among young people between 1999 and 2004. At the same time, the number of teenagers who are entering treatment for prescription drug abuse has increased by 300 percent. The earlier a teenager begins to misuse prescription medications, the greater the likelihood that he or she will become addicted.
Recovering From Prescription Drug Abuse
If you or someone in your life in Santa Monica has become dependent on prescription or OTC medications, help is available through professional addiction treatment programs. As part of your treatment plan, you should receive a complete medical and psychological evaluation to determine why you’re misusing these drugs. In many cases, addiction occurs as a result of poorly managed pain, undiagnosed anxiety or untreated conditions like attention deficit disorder. Getting to the root of your addiction will help you and your treatment team choose the most effective strategies for recovery.
What Happens After Rehab?
Detox and rehab are crucial stages of addiction treatment, but they represent only the beginning of the recovery process. After you’ve completed a rehabilitation program, you might feel worried about the future and concerned about the stability of your sobriety. At a sober living residence, you can make the change from rehab to everyday life in a drug-free environment. Surrounded by other people in recovery, you’ll feel more secure about remaining abstinent.
At a sober living home, you must agree to abide by the rules of the facility. Drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed, and visitors who are actively using are prohibited, as well. This structured environment offers protection against the environmental and social cues that drove you to use drugs. As you hone your coping skills in a supportive atmosphere, you’ll feel more confident about your recovery when you’re ready to go back to your life in Santa Monica. For advice on creating the future you really want, contact Axis to learn about our personalized addiction treatment plans.