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Years ago, drug use was restricted mostly to derelicts, low-income individuals, and the poor or homeless. The threat of prescription drug addiction was close to zero. Ads warning of drug abuse were almost always accompanied by images such as the one below showing a homeless man lying on the street.

Threat of Prescription Drug Addiction
Then something happened in the late 50s and early 60s. Pharmaceutical companies began advertising new drugs that supposedly could take away all your problems. Their target was the millions of housewives who were home alone with children to raise.

If you’ve ever been locked up with a houseful of kids, you know it produces anxiety. For people who are prone to problems, it produces a lot of anxiety. The pharma companies advertised their drugs promising a relief from that. They didn’t bother to mention that the drugs may bring their own problems.

Prescription Drugs Do Not Have a Good History

Let’s take a look at some of the approved TV or magazine ads from the 1950s and 1960s. Pharmaceutical companies advertised anti-anxiety medications for everything—from dealing with the everyday stresses of motherhood to dealing with the problems associated with menopause.Prescription Drugs History


Pharmaceutical Company Advertisement

And these are only two of the ads. There were plenty.

I’m going to finish this section with one of my favorites—an ad from Bayer Pharmaceuticals for heroin to be used for everything from toothaches to sore gums for babies who were teething—babies!

Bayer Pharmaceuticals Heroin Ad

Back to the Future

It’s no wonder we have a problem regarding the threat of prescription drug addiction. And by the way, it’s no longer a threat—it’s a reality. Prescription drug addiction has increased by leaps and bounds in the past ten years.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from substance abuse related to prescription opioid pain relievers as of 2012. Note I said “opioid” pain relievers. This is not counting the millions of people who are addicted to other drugs.

And according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

…prescription drugs are misused and abused more often than any other drug, except marijuana and alcohol. This growth is fueled by misperceptions about prescription drug safety, and increasing availability. A 2011 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that opioid analgesic (pain reliever) sales increased nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2010; this was paralleled by an almost four-fold increase in opioid (narcotic pain medication), overdose deaths, and substance abuse treatment admissions that were almost six times the rate during the same time period.

While the FDA has put guidelines in place, and the pharmaceutical companies have been restricted from ads, such as the ones we previously showed, we are still faced with the problem of increased addiction. But it’s a problem that can be solved—and we can help.

Bottom Line

We began this article discussing the “threat of prescription drug addiction.” We can confirm that is no longer a threat—it’s real.

What to Do if You Become Addicted

The good news is that life isn’t overdue to prescription drug addiction. There are avenues to take when seeking help. At Into Action Recovery Centers we are experienced at dealing with prescription drug addiction as well as other addiction. We have trained, competent staff on hand twenty-four hours a day, and our top staff have all been through it. We understand your needs and your fears.

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do—give us a call. We’re here to help you.
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