Prescription Drug Abuse: Men vs. Women

Prescription Drug Abuse: Men vs. Women

Prescription Drug Abuse: Men vs. Women

Gender appears to play a role in prescription drug abuse. Predictors are different in men vs. women and being able to recognize these is important for doctors to know how to treat it. Researchers say that prescription drug abuse in women seems to be more closely related to psychological distress. In men, the risk of prescription drug abuse is more common for men who have social and behavioral problems.

Women are more likely to ask for and receive prescriptions for narcotic medications, and they have more access to prescribers. One possible reason is that women are more inclined to voice their concerns to a medical professional than men, and therefore are more likely to receive a prescription. While the initial complaint may be valid, prescription drugs can be incredibly habit forming. Many of the women who turn become addicted to prescription medication would never turn to illicit drugs or alcohol as a means of coping. However, because prescription drugs come from a medical professional, it is easier for them to use them, even misuse them, while still believing that they don’t have a problem.

In addition, women who misuse prescription medication are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse or have a history of psychiatric problems. Women who are being treated for pain not caused by cancer and who exhibit signs of stress, should be treated for mood disorders and counseled about the danger of relying on prescription drugs. Men should be closely monitored for behavioral problems, and their meds should be counted to check for adherence.

Men who engage in prescription drugs abuse tend to display worrisome behaviors like association with other people who abuse drugs and alcohol and engaging in criminal behavior. Women who engage in prescription drug abuse tend to display signs of emotional issues and affective distress. Women also tend to be more open and truthful about behaviors and to seek psychological help than men.

Overall, more men than women abuse prescription except the youngest (12-17 years old). Females in this age group exceed males in the nonmedical use of all drugs, including pain relievers, tranquilizers, and stimulants.

When women do engage in prescription drug abuse and become addicted, they are less likely than men to seek treatment. Some think that this is because the social stigma is more negative regarding woman than it is for men. Women are also more likely to convince themselves that they don’t have a problem with prescription drugs because the drugs were prescribed by a doctor. This can delay them asking for help. Likewise, treatment centers tend to be more male-oriented, because the men usually outnumber the women. This can become a factor in whether a woman stays in treatment or gets the treatment she needs for her addiction.

One think is for sure, prescription drug abuse is on the rise in both men and women in the US. Some pain centers are overwhelmed with patients who are known or suspected to be abusing their medications.

My friend is addicted to Roxies. How can I help?

My friend is addicted to Roxies. How can I help?

My friend is addicted to Roxies. How can I help?     

Some people are able to use roxies recreationally or with a prescription without ever having to experience negative consequences or addiction. For many other people using roxies can cause problems at work, home, and school and in relationships. If you are worried about your friend’s roxy use it is important to know that help is out there.

If you have a friend or family member that is addicted to roxies here are some things that you can do to help them:

Take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself get caught up in your friend’s roxy addiction to the point where you begin neglecting what you need to be ok. Make sure that you have support and that you have people you can talk to and lean on. Always stay safe and don’t put yourself in dangerous situations with your friend. Your friend is not a bad a person just in the grips of the disease of addiction but that does not mean your friend is going to be acting like your friend so remember to be cautious.

Speak up. If your friend is addicted to roxies and you want to help then say something! Talk to the person about your concerns and offer them your help and support. Don’t be judgmental though because this will backfire. The sooner your friend can get help for their roxy addiction the better. Don’t wait for your friend to get really bad off on roxies before you say something. If you are going to speak up make sure that you are prepared for a slew of excuses about their addiction and even straight denial of it. The thing you can do is to list specific examples that you have of your friend’s behavior that has you worried about their addiction to roxies.

Don’t blame yourself. You can be ultra-supportive and you can also encourage your friend to go treatment but you cannot force your friend to get sober. You cannot control your friend’s actions or their decisions. Let your friend take the responsibility for their actions and their addiction, this is essential to them stepping out of denial and moving towards recovery from their addiction to roxies. Never blame yourself for anything you cannot do for them.

If you want to help your friend it is important to note the things that you should NOT do as well:

If your friend is addicted to roxies it is best if you never attempt to threaten, bribe or preach at them.

  • Don’t try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals or emotional blackmail to try and get them sober. This may only make your friend’s feelings of guilt and compulsion to use roxies stronger.
  • Don’t cover up or make excuses for your friend. Also do not shield them from the negative consequences they may experience due to their addiction.
  • Don’t take over their responsibilities for your friend. This leaves them with no sense of importance or dignity.
  • Don’t hide or throw out their drugs. This can spark a very angered and heated argument.
  • Never argue with your friend when they are high
  • Never take drugs with your friend
  • Don’t feel guilty or responsible for your friend’s behavior.

It is possible for you to help your friend but realize it is ultimately up to them to decide to get sober. Just be there as a friend and willing to support them if they decide to take the help you are trying to give.

Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Symptoms of Drug Addiction

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is the dependence on an illegal drug or even a prescription medication. When someone is addicted they cannot control their drug use. Most of the time those who are addicted will continue to use drugs despite the negative consequences. Addiction also causes an intense craving for drugs in the addict or alcohol. Those who are addicted may want to quit but they struggle to do it on their own. For most people with addiction their drug use began as casual or even recreational, “just for fun”. Then their drug use slowly progressed. Addiction causes serious problems, long-term consequences with physical, mental and emotional health, with relationships, holding a job, and the law.

So what are some of the physical symptoms of drug addiction?

The physical symptoms of a drug addiction vary depending on what drug the addict has been using and the addict themselves. There are some general physical symptoms of drug addiction though:

  • Tolerance – A tolerance to drugs means that the addict has to use more and more of the same substance in order to achieve the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal – If someone ever experiences withdrawal symptoms when they cut back or try to stop their drug use they are definitely addicted.
  • Sleeping a lot more or a lot less
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Persistent coughs and sniffles
  • Pupils of the eyes appearing larger or smaller than usual
  • Unwell at times and better at other times
  • Red eyes, glazed eyes, wandering gaze
  • Incessant scratching or rubbing

What are some psychological symptoms of drug addiction?

  • Mood changes from happy to sad to excited to anxious
  • Increased irritability and a quick temper
  • Having hallucinations
  • Overly energetic mood
  • Suspicious and paranoid
  • Being mentally withdrawn-Spaced out or zoned out

What are the emotional symptoms of drug addiction?

  • Increased feelings of loneliness and ostracism
  • Increased irritability
  • Unexplainable anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of abandonment (for both the addict and the people in the addict’s life)
  • Stress from strained relationships
  • Fear that the addiction is out of control
  • Fear of rejection if addiction is discovered
  • Fear that even if the addict gets sober, they will no longer be accepted by their social circle
  • Anger at people who “don’t get it”
  • Withdraws from social events

Some other symptoms of drug addiction are financial and within relationships. For instance the loss of a marriage, going to jail, legal issues, loss of job, loss of home, kicked out of school, abusive relationships etc. These outward consequences are not the symptoms of drug addiction that really effect the addict though, it is the emotional symptoms that really bring an addict down and may make them want to stop using drugs and break free from their addiction.

When someone is experiencing severe symptoms of drug addiction it can take them a short or long period of time to realize they need to stop using drugs because they have formed a dependence on the substance. But should they ever want help the best bet for someone experience symptoms of drug addiction is to seek outside help from a drug rehabilitation center.


Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology

Roxicodone Clinical Pharmacology

Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology

Roxicodone is the brand name of the drug, oxycodone. While many drugs that contain oxycodone also contain other medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprophen, Roxicodone is pure oxycodone. It is a semi-synthetic narcotic with actions similar to morphine. It’s most prominent effects are on the central nervous system and organs composed of smooth muscles.

Roxicodone is a pure agonist opioid. There is no ceiling effect to the painkilling (analgesic) effects like there is with partial agonists. It is roughly as strong as morphine when both are given intramuscularly and it also has the same duration of action- about three to four hours.

Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology: Effects on the Central Nervous System

The precise mechanism of action of Roxicodone is unknown. However, we do know that its effects are related to its action on endogenous opioid receptors. These receptors bind to the natural painkiller chemicals in the body. Roxicodone mimics these natural painkillers and binds to the same receptors. The significant feature of opioid-induced anesthesia is that is occurs without a loss of consciousness. It relieves pain without affecting the other senses.

Roxicodone depresses respiratory function by its action on the respiratory centers in the brain stem. It both reduces the responsiveness of the brain stem to increases in carbon dioxide tension and to electrical stimulation.

Roxicodone also depresses the cough reflex, which is why it’s often included in cough medications. It has a direct effect on the cough center in the medulla.

Roxicodone cause the pupil to constrict. Normally, a person’s pupil changes size depending on the amount of light in the room (expanding in low light and constricting in bright light). However, when a person is using Roxicodone, their pupil stays small no matter what. Even when a person becomes tolerant to Roxicodone as a result of prolonged use, they will still display this physical sign when they ingest Roxicodone.

Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology: Gastrointestinal Tract and Other Smooth Muscle

Roxicodone produces nausea and vomiting due to its sometimes powerful effect on the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Many first time users of Roxicodone vomit or get nauseous, particularly if Roxicodone is taken on an empty stomach. This is because Roxicodone directly triggers chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) (aka the vomit center) located in the medulla. Usually, the frequency and severity of this effect diminishes with time.

Roxicodone also causes constipation and slowed digestion. It decreases the production of acid in the stomach so digestion is slowed, and it also decreases muscle action in the colon resulting in constipation.

Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics

The relationship between the plasma level of Roxicodone and the painkilling effect depends on the patient’s age, health, medical condition, and extent of previous opioid treatment. For this reason, the minimum effective plasma concentration to achieve analgesia will vary widely among patients.

Roxicodone – Clinical Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics

Absorption: About 60% to 87% of Roxicodone taken orally reaches the systemic circulation.

Distribution: Plasma protein binding of oxycodone is about 45% at standard temp and pH.

Metabolism: Roxicodone is extensively metabolized to noroxycodone, oxymorphone, and their glucuronides. The major metabolite is noroxycodone. The formation of oxymorphone is mediated by CYP2DG, so it can be affected by other drugs and grapefruit.

Elimination:  Roxicodone and its metabolites are excreted primarily by the kidneys.



Teenage Boys and Prescription Drug Abuse


Teenage boys and prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse among teens is on the rise. Experts estimate that 20% of teens have used prescription drugs to get high. Many of these teens find prescription drugs in their parents or grandparents medicine cabinet. Recent research has indicated that teenage girls have caught up with teenage boys in the rates of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Even more disturbing, the studies report that girls are far more likely to abuse prescription drugs. Also, teenage girls have different reasons for abusing prescription drugs than teenage boys.

Teenage boys and prescription drug abuse: Reasons

Surveys report that teenage boys and prescription drug abuse results mainly because the boys want to get high and experiment. Girls, however, have different reasons for prescription drug abuse. Girls are more likely to abuse prescription drugs for a specific purpose like to increase concentration or treat pain. In other words, girls are self-prescribing for a specific purpose, while teenage boys are just looking to get wasted. Teenage girls to use substances to help their mood, boost their confidence, and cope with problems. They also use substances to help them lose weight.

While teenage boys and prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, teenage girls may be in even more danger. For one, teenage girls are more affected by drugs and alcohol than teenage boys. The same dose tends to cause a girl to become far more intoxicated due to gender differences in body type and metabolism. Also, because girls take these drugs for a specific purpose rather than just to get high, they tend to be more likely to rationalize drug use. They think “What’s the problem? Doctors prescribe these medications for the same reasons I am using them.”

Teenage boys and prescription drug abuse: Danger

More than one third of new prescription drug abusers are under the age of 18. Studies have shown that 40 percent of teens think that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as street drugs. Almost 30 percent of teens think that prescription painkillers are not addictive. Clearly, teens are underestimating the risk of prescription drugs. Prescription drugs can be just as addictive and dangerous as street drugs. Teenage boys and prescription drug abuse can also lead to addiction. Studies indicate that the younger a person is when they begin abusing prescription drugs, the more likely they are to have drug and alcohol problems later in life. Clearly, teens aren’t being educated about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Teenage boys and prescription drug abuse: Heroin

Another problem related to teenage boys and prescription drug abuse is that many of these teens are turning to heroin when prescription painkillers become too expensive or difficult to find. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration (SAMHSA), introductions to heroin have increased 80 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds in the last ten years. Fatal overdoses among teens have more than doubled in the same time span. Teenage boys are more likely to turn to heroin after they become dependent on prescription narcotics.

Why are habits hard to break?

Why are habits hard to break?

Why are habits hard to break?

I once heard that changing a habit takes 90 days. This is why many drug and alcohol treatment centers recommend 90 days of inpatient treatment, and many 12 step fellowships suggest you go to 90 meetings in the first 90 days you are sober. By nature, we are creatures of habit. The majority of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are a result of habit. So it takes time to break a habit once you have it, especially if you have been doing the same thing for years.

Why are habits hard to break? Physical reasons

There is an actual physical reason that habits are hard to break. When we do the same things over and over, our brain adapts. Neural patterns are formed. These neural patterns created by habit can be changed or altered. But when a stimulus from the old days returns, the dormant pattern can reassert itself. The brain retains these cues, even after the pattern changes, and old stimuli can trigger old behavior.

Why are habits hard to break? Social reasons

Habits are hard to break for social reasons as well. If whatever they are doing is seen as socially acceptable among their peers, they are more likely to continue doing it. When a behavior is socially accepted, or even considered desirable, people tend to reconcile the fact that it’s bad for them with the idea that “everybody’s doing it.” This is the reason that many drug and alcohol treatment centers suggest that the people who are new to sobriety change their social circle. Hanging out with people who do not drink or use drugs can be a big factor in determining whether or not a person stays sober in the long term.

Social and physical environments play large roles in fueling poor habits, but they also play a part in creating good habits. If you perceive that your friends are sitting on the beach all day, taking several smoke breaks for work, or drinking every night, you are more likely to do that too. Often, in early sobriety they tell newcomers to “stick with the winners.” This means to spend time with people who are doing the right thing and have healthy habits. This way, you will tend to create healthy habits for yourself. The good news is that healthy habits are hard to break too, so once you’ve created them, it’s easier to stick with it.

Why are habits hard to break? Beware of stress

Studies have shown that habits are hard to break especially when we are stressed out. Stress can weaken our control over memory and behavior, so that those automatic, habitual responses from the past become more powerful. We fall back into bad habits, even if it’s been a while since we’ve indulged. This is why it is so important to keep stress levels as low as possible when you are first attempting to break a habit. Meditation and plenty of rest can help de-stress you while you are attempting to break a habit.





Teenage girls and prescription drug abuse

Teenage Girls and Prescription Drug Abuse

Teenage girls and prescription drug abuse

What is prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes a prescription drug that was prescribed for someone else of in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed. Prescription drug abuse for teens can include taking a friend’s or relative’s prescription to get high, treat pain, or because they think it will help with studying.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs among teenagers are opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants. Opioids are prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin which are painkillers. Central nervous system depressants are drugs such as Xanax and Valium. Stimulants are drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. Stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs out of all of them.

Among teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old, 7.4% reported non-medical use of prescription medication which qualifies as prescription drug abuse. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by seniors in high school only after marijuana and tobacco. Teenagers who dabble with prescription drug abuse are also much more likely to report use of other drugs such as cocaine, alcohol and hallucinogens.

Many teenagers abuse prescription drugs in order to get high, treat pain, or because they think it will help them with their school work.

Recent research is showing that American teenage girls have caught up with boys in their rates of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. In 2004, 1.5 million girls started using alcohol, 730,000 girls started smoking, and 675,000 started using marijuana, according to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

This wasn’t always the case. Teenage girls are also now more likely to abuse prescription drugs like pain pills and ADHD medication than boys. According to SAMHSA teenage prescription drug abuse is on the rise and teen girls are leading the way. 9.9% of girls vs. 8.2% of boys used prescription drugs in a manner other than prescribed. Girls between 12 and 17 had higher rates of dependence or prescription drug abuse than boys in the same age range. This may be because teenage girls and prescription drug abuse has a different reason than that of their counterparts the teenage boys.

According to a survey by NIDA which asked hundreds of teens their motivation for abusing prescription drugs, teenage boys were more likely to use them to get high and experiment while teenage girls use them to help them concentrate or stay alert. In other words, teenage girls use prescription drugs to “self-medicate” or “self-treat” for a specific purpose.  Teenage girls tend to use prescription drugs to help their mood, boost their confidence, and cope with problems. A desire to lose weight also contributes to prescription drug abuse; teenage girls pop diet pills four times more than boys.

There is a dark side to teenage girls and prescription drug abuse. For instance teenage girls who smoke, drink, and take prescription drugs are at a higher risk for depression, addiction and stunted growth. Also, because prescription drug abuse can lead to substance abuse it usually goes hand in hand with risky sexual behavior causing them to become more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant.

Prescription drug abuse does not have to go on forever and there is help for it. Attending a drug and alcohol rehab can quickly help any teenage girl or boy to overcome their prescription drug abuse problem and they can hopefully do this before it’s too late.


Withdrawal Symptoms from Opiates

Withdrawal Symptoms from Opiates

Withdrawal Symptoms from Opiates

Withdrawal symptoms from opiates is referring to the different experiences that occur after stopping or largely reducing the use of opiate drugs after heavy and prolonged use (usually several weeks or more). The street term for withdrawal symptoms for opiates is known as being dope sick.

Opiates include heroin, morphine, codeine, Oxycontin, Dilaudid, methadone and more.

Around 10% of the United States population misuses opiates at some point during their lifetime. Misusing opiates also means using illegal drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin in a way other than prescribed. Drugs, such as opiates, cause physical dependence. A physical dependence to opiates means a person relies on them to prevent symptoms of withdrawal from opiates. Over the course of a few weeks, or a longer period of time, a greater amount of opiates will be needed to produce the same affects in the opiate user. The time that it takes to become physically dependent on opiates differs from person to person. When a person who has become physically dependent on opiates stops taking them, the body has to take some time to recover, the result of this is withdrawal symptoms from opiates. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates can happen whenever a person who has been chronically abusing opiates stops or reduces the amount they are using. There are even some instances where someone ends up withdrawing from opiates after being given the drugs for pain in the hospital. Usually the withdrawal from opiates in this instance is not too bad but it is still uncomfortable and the person doesn’t know what’s happening to them. They think they have the flu.

Early withdrawal symptoms from opiates include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Late withdrawal symptoms from opiates include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The withdrawal symptoms from opiates usually begin within the first 12 hours after the last opiate use. For an opiate for methadone it is 30 hours since the last dose. A doctor can quickly tell if a person has opiate withdrawal symptoms just by asking questions and doing an exam. Blood and urine tests can confirm the diagnosis.

There is help for those withdrawal symptoms from opiates. For instance treatment for the withdrawal from opiates includes medications. The most common medication used for opiate withdrawal is clonidine which helps reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and muscle cramping. Other medications that can be given are there to help treat vomiting and diarrhea. In some instances Buprenoprhine, better known as Suboxone can be given to help the opiate user taper off their drug of choice. It is also good for treating withdrawal symptoms. It helps to reduce the intensity of the opiate withdrawal symptoms. The treatment programs for withdrawal symptoms from opiates are known as detoxes and are purposely in place to help those who are experiencing any kind of withdrawal from any substances what so ever.

It is best if anyone is withdrawing from opiates or any substance to seek medical assistance and utilize a medical opiate detox facility.

OxyContin Detox

OxyContin Detox

OxyContin Detox

OxyContin is part of a highly addictive class of drugs known as opiates. It is a powerful narcotic analgesic (painkiller) that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It also causes a feeling of euphoria.

OxyContin Detox: What is it?

OxyContin detox is the process of controlling withdrawal from OxyContin and lessening the physical effects of purging the body of addictive substances.  When an individual is physically dependent on OxyContin and they suddenly stop using OxyContin or reduce the dose significantly, they experience a set of symptoms known as OxyContin withdrawal.

OxyContin Detox: What is OxyContin Withdrawal?

OxyContin withdrawal results when a person becomes “tolerant” to OxyContin.  Tolerance results when the body adapts to regular OxyContin use over a long period of time. Eventually, it takes more and more of the OxyContin to produce the original effect. This is what happens to long term OxyContin users. Their bodies expect the OxyContin. When OxyContin use is stopped or the dose is significantly reduced, the body reacts in a physical way. It can be very painful. This is why the OxyContin detox process is so important.

OxyContin Detox: Who Can Get OxyContin Withdrawal?

Anyone who has taken OxyContin over a period of time (usually a couple weeks or more), can experience withdrawal. Even people who are taking OxyContin in prescribed doses can experience withdrawal. This is why in a medical settings, doctors usually try to wean a patient off OxyContin gradually, to avoid withdrawal. The likelihood of withdrawal depends on dose, length of time they have been using the drug, and other life factors.

OxyContin Detox: What Are The symptoms?

OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are similar to flu symptoms. Common symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goose bumps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Abdominal cramping

OxyContin Detox: Is Withdrawal Dangerous?

OxyContin Withdrawal is very painful, but it is not life-threatening in a healthy adults. Sometimes complications can occur that are also dangerous. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, and aspiration of vomit into the lungs is possible. One of the biggest dangers, however, is if you quit taking OxyContin and then start to take it again. Once you have withdrawn from OxyContin, your tolerance is greatly reduced, so you are able to overdose from doses that you may have handled well before withdrawal. Many overdose deaths from OxyContin occur after someone has been detoxed or withdrawn from OxyContin.

OxyContin Detox: What Does It Entail?

OxyContin detox is much more comfortable and safe than withdrawal on your own. Many medications are used to treat the symptoms of withdrawal during oxycodone detox. These can include anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, opiate substitution medications, etcetera. Most of the time OxyContin detox is carried out in a safe, medical environment, where medical professionals are able to keep an eye on you at all times in order to prevent complications. The severity and length of withdrawal symptoms will vary from individual to individual, so it is important that your needs be accessed by a medical professional.