Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic Hits Home

An epidemic of drug abuse has swept across Kansas and throughout the United States. The epidemic originates not in meth labs, poppy plants or cocoa fields but in our medicine cabinets. While marijuana, cocaine and heroin are commonly referenced as the greatest threats in America’s battle against drug addiction, the abuse of prescription medication poses an equally serious threat. Thankfully, for those caught in the grip of prescription drug addiction, there is help available.

The Addictions Treatment Center at Prairie View offers support, hope and recovery to those struggling with addictions to prescription medications and other addictions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription drugs known as “opioid analgesics” (which include Vicodin, Demerol and OxyContin) have risen steeply since 1999. In fact, in 2010 more than 16,500 people died from overdoses of prescription drugs, more than twice as many as from cocaine and heroin combined. That means prescription drug abuse takes the lives of more than 100 people a day.

And it’s not just the number of people who have lost their lives to an overdose of prescription drugs that makes this epidemic frightening. Not only is prescription drug abuse deadly, it is also targets the young. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health paints a dire picture: Of people 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009, nearly one-third began by using a prescription drug non-medically. According to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, translating to a 33 percent increase over the last five years.

While strong enforcement is a necessary part of drug-abuse policy, “We cannot simply arrest our way out of the drug problem,” the Office of National Drug Control Policy says. Effective enforcement of drug laws is essential to the safety and well-being of our communities, but addressing prescription drug abuse requires public education, prescription monitoring and convenient, environmentally conscious drug disposal programs.

While preventative steps are crucial to stemming the tide of prescription drug abuse in Kansas and nationwide, effective treatment for those addicted to prescription medication is just as important. Drug addiction, including addiction to prescription drugs from pain medication to cough medicine, is an illness and can be effectively treated.

“Patient-centered holistic substance abuse treatment can stop the progression of the disease and empower the individual to effectively manage the disease and live a meaningful life,” says Brad Clark, LSCSW, LCAC, director of the Addictions Treatment Center.

The Addictions Treatment Center at Prairie View offers private rooms in a 14-bed facility, located on a secluded prairie in Newton, Kansas. Our program gives you the opportunity to begin the journey to recovery without distractions or interruptions of daily life. If addiction to prescription medication or other drugs has a grip on your life or the life of a loved one, contact us or call 800-992-6292.

About Prairie View

Prairie View has a passion for helping people live well and relate to one another in a positive, healthy manner. By offering a complete range of mental and behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults, older adults and families, Prairie View treats depression, anxiety disorders, marital and family conflicts, aging issues, addictions and more.

Founded in 1954, Prairie View is the state’s only faith-based, non-profit behavioral and mental health center with locations in Newton, east and west Wichita, Hillsboro and McPherson. Prairie View serves as the Community Mental Health Center for Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties.