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Prescription Drug Addiction: A Growing Problem Across Florida
A Manatee County, Florida mother is hoping the loss of her son will help save other teens’ lives, as reports continue to mount revealing the growing prescription drug addiction problem around the state.
On Sept. 13, reports Bay News 9, Jan Spring’s 18-year-old son, Derek, died from an overdose of the narcotic painkiller methadone, and possibly the narcotic painkiller OxyContin. She told the News that she knew he had a problem with the OxyContin, and that her son was about to start treatment for his prescription drug addiction. But she didn’t know Derek was also abusing methadone.
OxyContin and methadone are the two most deadly prescription narcotics in Florida, responsible for hundreds of cases of prescription drug addiction and deaths across the throughout the state.
Drug addiction and abuse specialists agree that prescription drug addiction is up statewide. And it’s a problem that, for many, starts at home, not on the streets.
“Many prescription drug addiction problems begin with legitimate painkiller or other prescriptions,” said the Director, executive director of Novus Medical Detox Centers of Pasco County, FL. “People who take their prescriptions as prescribed can still become dependent, and if they hide that from their doctor and family, it can accelerate into a full-blown prescription drug addiction problem.
“Meanwhile, many others, especially youngsters, are raiding the home medicine cabinet for painkillers and almost anything else they can find that might prove ‘recreational’ — which can become a fast ticket not just to prescription drug addiction, but to the morgue,” the Director added.
Earlier this year, the Florida Medical Examiners organization released a report detailing hundreds of deaths due to prescription drugs in the state, outnumbering most illicit street drugs more than 2 to 1.
In homes with teenagers or young adults, prescription drugs should be securely locked away and dosages should be monitored to make sure no one is dipping into them, said the Director. Prescription drug addiction, a serious problem among adults from all walks of life, is reaching almost epidemic levels among younger people, he added.
“If you have any suspicions at all about a family member possibly abusing prescription drugs, for goodness sake don’t back off from talking to them about it. And if it’s needed, help them find their way into treatment,” said the Director. “You could save someone from a serious prescription drug addiction problem.”
Meanwhile, Jan Spring, Derek’s mom, says that while she’s ashamed of what her son did, she’s also willing to be honest in order to help others. “I’m haunted by not recognizing it sooner, moving faster,” Spring told the News. “These pills are addictive and deadly.”
For those ready to seek help for prescription drug addiction, said the Director, drug detox is not ‘one size fits all’. “The safest approach is a medical drug detox program tailored to a patient’s specific needs, to help minimize the discomfort of withdrawal and maximize a successful transition to a drug-free life.”
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