Prescription drug abuse

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At First Responder wellness

If you open your medicine cabinet, you might be surprised to find that it contains some of the world’s deadliest and most addictive drugs. As a first responder, you may have been prescribed some of these drugs to treat an injury, reduce anxiety or help you sleep at night without knowing their potential for abuse and addiction. For many individuals, this is how their substance use begins — with medication prescribed to treat a legitimate medical condition and a belief that these drugs are harmless compared to their illegal counterparts. Prescription drugs are incredibly powerful, however, and carry many of the same risks as illicit substances. While doctors take certain steps to curb abuse and ensure that medications are being used as prescribed, dependency and addiction can still become a problem.

At First Responder Wellness, we understand the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how it can negatively affect every aspect of your life. We’re also familiar with the stress and trauma you experience on a daily basis and how prescription drugs may help you cope with difficult situations. Our culturally competent team of clinicians is uniquely qualified to help you explore the issues that contribute to your addiction and achieve a life free from drugs or alcohol with effective programs that meet your specific needs.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

In the United States, prescription drug abuse is a growing problem that has contributed to a rising number of overdoses and emergency room visits in the past 15 years. As a first responder, you’ve probably witnessed the effects of this first-hand. Doctors are prescribing opioids, amphetamines, sleep aids and anxiolytics at an alarming rate, offering a “quick fix” for health concerns that range from chronic pain to anxiety and panic disorders. Although effective in treating a variety of ailments when used as directed, physical dependence and tolerance can become a problem with long-term use. Others may turn to prescription drugs for recreational use or self-medication as availability increases, either by taking more than their recommended dose or obtaining them illegally. Commonly abused prescription drugs include:

  • Opioids (OxyContin, Vicodin, fentanyl, morphine, etc.)
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, etc.)
  • Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin, etc.)
  • Sleep aids (Ambien, barbiturates, etc.)
  • Other drugs (Seroquel, Soma, etc.)

When it comes to prescription drugs, addiction can develop quickly, with consequences that affect your health, relationships, finances, career and daily life. Regular or long-term use may even lead to withdrawal symptoms, making it more difficult to quit despite the negative impact. This can leave you feeling trapped and unsure where to turn, but First Responder Wellness is here to help. With specialized treatment programs designed for first responders and their unique needs, we understand that prescription drug abuse is a serious problem and are here to guide you through each stage of recovery as you reclaim your sobriety.

How Do I Know if I Need Help?

Prescription drugs may seem harmless compared to illicit substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin, but can have a devastating impact on your overall health and well-being when abused. It can be difficult to know when you’ve crossed the line from abuse or dependency into addiction, but some signs that you may need help with your prescription drug use include:

  • Routinely taking more than prescribed
  • Buying prescription medications illegally
  • Doctor shopping and other drug-seeking behavior
  • Requesting early refills
  • Frequently replacing “lost or stolen” medications
  • Stealing prescriptions from others
  • Often appearing intoxicated
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Long-term misuse of prescription medications can have lasting effects on the body, making recovery difficult without professional help. Some withdrawal symptoms can even be dangerous, requiring a medically supervised detox to ensure your safety and help you regain your strength before transitioning into the next phase of treatment. At First Responder Wellness, we provide the comprehensive care you’ll need to begin healing, with highly personalized treatment plans and a variety of proven therapies designed to help you overcome your addiction and achieve the happy, healthy life you deserve.

Prescription Drug Treatment at First Responder Wellness

Our treatment programs at First Responder Wellness are designed specifically for first responders and other public safety professionals and the unique challenges they face in recovery. Depending on your needs, your experience may begin with a medically supervised detox to ensure that your treatment begins on the right foot. Once you’re ready, you’ll transition into the level of care that is appropriate for you and participate in a variety of evidence-based treatments and proven psychotherapies. Some of the techniques we use to promote long-term recovery include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Holistic treatments
  • Experiential therapies
  • 12-step integration
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Mental health care and trauma services including EMDR
  • Relapse prevention
  • Reintegration process
  • Stress management and coping skills
  • Chemical dependency education

While in recovery, you’ll have the opportunity to discover which methods work best for you by engaging in a diverse selection of therapies and treatments. Rather than utilize a “cookie cutter” approach, we’ve embraced individualized recovery plans that allow clients to heal in their own way. Our continuum of care also offers flexibility so you can receive the help you need on your terms, regardless of your situation.