Dr. Kathy Yates
Nov. 28th 2011
Addiction Does Not Discriminate
Addiction does not discriminate; it does not care if one is rich, poor, famous, unknown, man, woman, or even a child. Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer not only preying on the homeless living on the streets or the people who struggle economically but also the white collared, financially secure, and middle class. Addiction to any substance, including drugs or alcohol, is more than capable of taking control of one’s life no matter how in order life seems. Addiction does not begin with a conscious decision to become an “addict.” Because of the availability of painkillers, central nervous system depressants, and alcohol, every socio-economical group is at risk. For many it is a slow progression from needing to wanting the drug of choice. Fortunately, there are treatment plans and therapy for those who suffer from this life changing disease. The stereotypical view of a drug addict is the poor, dirty, economically challenged, bug-eyed, and most likely of non-white ethnicity. However, Jeff Bishop reports from an interview with Pamela Shepard, coordinator of the Coweta County Adult Drug Court,
that the addicts they deal with are anything but stereotypical. Shepard states that the people they deal with are not like those in the movies, they are moms, dads, college, students, nurses, teachers and every other profession. Then there are those who never stood a chance from the time they were born. Shepard also says that drug and alcohol addiction and other addictions are pervasive, not just in certain parts of a town or among certain groups of people. (Bishop) There are several prescription medications that are addictive, however, some of the more commonly addictive and abused are painkillers, CNS Depressants, and Alcohol. The National Institutes of Health estimates that in the United States close to 20 % of people over the age of 12 have used these prescription drugs or alcohol for non-medical purposes. (Prescription Drug Abuse). Prescription pain killers are one of the most commonly abused medicines (Drug Addiction-Prescription). Many patients are prescribed these medicines for moderate to severe pain. If taken exactly as prescribed, pain medicine can manage quite effectively. However, chronic use or abuse of opioids can result in physical dependence and addiction (Drug Addiction-Prescription). Pain killers tend to be over prescribed by many doctors and the option of online pharmacies only adds to the problem. (Prescription Painkillers May Be Over Prescribed) According to researchers from the University of North Carolina, physicians who treat neck pain rely on medications far too often to the point of excluding other treatment options, which may be more effective and carry less risk of addiction. (Prescription Painkillers May Be Over Prescribed) Andrews 3
Another highly abused medicine is CNS Depressants such as, Xanax and Valium (Drug Addiction-Prescription). These medications are typically prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders (Prescription Drug Abuse). Depressants, for many, are a “way out” of reality which allows them to alter the ability to feel emotional pain or discomfort. Sometimes the “way out” feeling leads to addiction. Research continues to show that alcohol is the most abused substance. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health released that 22% of the American population binge drink and that over 16 million people are heavy drinkers (Catton). Two reasons to support this fact are availability and being legal to buy. Alcohol is woven into many activities in life, and it becomes difficult to recognize when drinking has crossed the line into addiction. Alcoholics have a difficult time setting limits on the amount consumed (Smith, Robinson & Segal). Many people...