a modern-day plague

Prescription drug abuse is a modern-day plague. According to one government estimate, over six million Americans have abused prescription medication. The truth is that there is no completely accurate way to measure prescription drug abuse.

However, it is not the number itself that is important, but the undeniable fact that a large number of people suffer from addiction to prescription drugs. As a result of this, families are torn apart, lives are destroyed, and people die.


Some people are concerned that by focusing on the problem of prescription drug abuse, we may scare physicians away from legitimately prescribing helpful medications (especially pain killers) for patients who truly need them.

We do not advocate that medicines be witheld from patients who need them. This site is not advocating the removal of any drugs from the marketplace. Nor does we attempt to tell doctors or patients which drugs are "good" or "bad." This is an issue that requires a balanced perspective, not extremism.

get help

If you are wondering whether you have a problem with prescription drugs, please complete the do you have a drug problem questionnaire.

If you decide that you do have a problem, seek help immediately. Do not delay getting treatment. Your life depends on it!

Many prescription drug abusers and their loved ones do not know how or where to get the help they need. The good news is that effective help is available and, in many cases, is free of charge.

treatment options

If you are seeking treatment for prescription drug abuse, you should first talk to your homeopath or physician. This can be embarrasing, but it is absolutely necessary that you be detoxed under close medical supervision.

Trying to go "cold turkey" off some medications can be fatal.

Once you have talked to your physician, contact one of the following organizations:

treatment centers

Contact a drug treatment facility in your area. Many cities, counties, and states offer free or subsidized drug counseling services. Check the "government pages" of your phone book.

When my wife admitted to her problem with painkillers and sleeping pills, this is where I first went to get educated about the problem. They were able to get her into a good residential treatment program that cost very little.

narcotics anonymous

Contact a local chapter of Narcotics Anonymous [and read the Drug User and Children of Drug Users Page on this site]. They can definitely help steer you in the right direction. Narcotics Anonymous has a specific process (the 12 steps) designed to deal with addiction. I have seen these steps help my wife and I know that they work.

Treatment does work and recovery is possible.

Copyright 2002 Prescription Drug Abuse

why are prescription drugs sometimes addictive?

Addictive drugs mimic the action of chemicals your brain produces to send messages of pleasure to your brain's reward center. They produce an artificial feeling of pleasure.

Most addictive drugs are able to produce pleasurable effects by chemically acting like certain normal brain messenger chemicals, which produce positive feelings in response to signals from the brain.

The result is a dependence on the immediate, fast, predictable drug which, at the same time, short circuits interests in and the motivation to make life's normal rewards work. More and more confidence is placed in the drug while other survival feelings are ignored and bypassed.

The result of this addiction cycle is a lack of concern for, and confidence in, other areas of life.

Prescription drugs, like other addictive drugs, are able to short-circuit your survival system by artificially stimulating the reward center, or pleasure areas in your brain, without anything beneficial happening to your body. As this happens, it leads to increased confidence in the drug, and less confidence in the normal rewards of life.

This first happens on a physical level. Then, it affects you psychologically. The big drug lie results in decreased interest in other aspects of life, as you increase your reliance and interest in the drug. People, places and activities involved with using drugs become more important.

People, places and activities or lifestyles that worked through your normal reward system, before using the drug, become less important to you. After a while, a heavy drug user will actually resent people, places, and activities that do not fit in with that drug use.

is this addiction age specific?

No. Prescription drug addiction can affect the young, middle aged, or elderly. Prescription drug addicted individuals may come from any walk of life, hold entry level or high positions, be parents or grandparents, single or married.

Often, the addiction develops without the individual realizing it until the drug begins to control their life. When an individual exceeds the dosage prescribed or seeks to obtain the drug after the time prescribed by their physician, they should be alert to the possibility of drug dependency.

is there withdrawal?

Yes.The type of symptoms, the severity and length of the withdrawal depends on the particular drug and the amount of the drug an individual is taking.

what is drug craving?

Drug craving is the result of the drug's imprinting in the memory of a pleasant association of euphoria with the drug. The subconscious memory then motivates the individual to seek this drug because of the false imprint.

The brain, in effect, has been trained that using the drug is the fastest way to feel good. This learning process then produces a new appetite or drive to seek the drug which we call craving. This craving is most often activated by:

- memory of pleasure;

- when we feel bad and have a habit of using the drug to rapidly feel good;

- when we are in a situation with people, places and activities in which a previous habit pattern of drug use has been established.

treatment involves:
  1. Counter-conditioning against old positive brainwashing with the drug;
  2. Refocusing on true friends;
  3. Developing habits of reacting through people support when we feel bad;
  4. Avoiding habits of people, places and activities that were strongly associated with drug use;
  5. Using the tools of honesty, open mindedness and support from others to meet our needs and maintain peace of mind;
  6. Pain issues for those who are treating for "pain pills" worked out between the treating medical staff and your pain clinic or physician.

Note: Some prescription drugs are so potentially addictive, Class Action Lawsuits have been filed regarding them.

Copyright 2002 Schick-Shadel

Aldo's work was not affected. Normal responses had never been his bag. Pink-ribboned briefs and countless millions were that which engaged him. He was charging unheard-of sums for unheard-of victories. Justice has always been secondary to force, and thus force cannot be abolished; it can only be understood and then, if possible, harnessed or countered. He was rarely at home.

Mother began seriously abusing prescription drugs, a sport which cancelled certain social arrangements. No matter. The big man was also a brave man, and undertook such crucial networking on the arms of smiling socialites and their daughters. In circles such as theirs, marriage is understood to be a socioeconomic grouping ratified by ministers and priests; it has little to do with soul-shaping love. Compartmentalization is all such people comprehend. And Aldo's mistresses were never vulgar, always of a catwalk height, buoyant with private incomes and decorous enough to shade their faces when the paparazzi loomed. Mother knew that what she pretended to ignore inspired groundswells of pity in others. Her life was no more than Platonic shadow-play.

- from The Pure Weight of the Heart, by Antonella Gambotto


10 helpful rules

  1. Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture. Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image. That is most dangerous, for the mind always tries to complete what it pictures. So always picture "success" no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment;
  2. Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers come to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out;
  3. Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Depreciate every so-called obstacle. Minimize them. Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts;
  4. Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as YOU can. Remember also that most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanour, are often as scared as you are and as doubtful of themselves;
  5. Ten times a day repeat these dynamic words, "If [the Highest Power] be for us who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) Whenever you think of these words stop AT ONCE and repeat them slowly and confidently! It most definitely will "improve your conscious contact with [the Highest Power]";
  6. Get a competent counsellor to help you understand why you do what you do. Learn the origin of your inferiority and self-doubt feelings which often begin in childhood. Self-knowledge leads to a cure;
  7. Ten times each day practise the following affirmation, repeating it out loud if possible. "I can do all things through [the Highest Power] which strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) Repeat those words AT ONCE whenever you think of them (in addition to the 10 chosen times mentioned above). That magic statement is the most powerful antidote on earth to inferiority thoughts;
  8. Make a true estimate of your own abiltiy, then raise it 10%. Do not become egotistical. but develop a wholesome self-respect. Believe in your own your Higher Power;
  9. Put yourself in your Higher Power's hands. To do that simply state, "I am in my Higher Power's hands." Then believe you are NOW receiving all the power you need. "Feel" it flowing into you. Affirm that "[the Highest Power] is within you" (Luke 17:21) in the form of adequate power to meet life's demands;
  10. Remind yourself that the Highest Good is with you and nothing can defeat you. Believe that you now RECEIVE power from your Highest Power.
Are you codependent?
Anger and depression
Addicted to love
Trauma & recovery
Illness: a new perspective
Suicidal urges
A healthy life
Old age
The healing power of hope
In debt?
The laughter page
Find your own North Star
Optimism - the key
How to feel better about yourself
Feel like a hug?
An inspiring interview with abuse survivor Louise Hay

Prescription drug abuse message board - NOW!
Prescription Drug Abuse Online
Stories of recovery
Inspiring material on recovering from addiction

Links to various 12 Step programs
Articles on prescription drug addiction
Online resources
Buy Prescription Drug Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic
Great free guided audio online relaxation exercises