Last updated: September 25, 2023
Addiction is a terrible thing, and it can be very hard to beat. There are often substances that individuals can be addicted to without even realizing it—caffeine, for instance. There are other substances which someone can start using out of necessity, but quickly form an unhealthy addiction to, like painkillers. Since you can see that addiction can come out of nowhere, it’s important to recognize how that addiction actually comes about. Legally prescribed medicines can become illegal drugs in the blink of an eye when the reason for using them is seeking out a high.
According to experts, painkiller addiction often starts with a prescription to treat a medical condition. A patient starts by taking the medicine as directed, and the medicine works, taking away the pain that their medical condition is causing them. But the thing is, the medicine takes away all of their other pain, too. They begin to crave that euphoric, pain free feeling, and even after their condition subsides, they continue to take the drug in order to get it back.
Eventually, of course, that prescription will run out. The patient has a few choices from here. Usually, they will go back to their own doctor and ask for a refill. If the doctor feels that the patient no longer needs the drug to treat what it was originally prescribed for, they will refuse to write another prescription, which leaves the patient with a decision. Seek out a new doctor, or doctors, and try to get a new prescription written—from different doctor and often in the same day.
They will do this as long as it’s viable, but multiple doctor visits can be expensive, as can paying for all of these drugs. Plus, there are only so many doctors that will continue to write prescriptions for drugs which have been proven to be addictive. This is where the black market comes in. With the increase in the number of prescription drugs being used in America, the opportunity for sellers to find buyers for their once legally prescribed drugs is increasing as well. If the buyer is the user, however, money will quickly become a problem, leading to deception and theft to supply the habit.
Since many painkillers share traits with some of the harder “street” drugs out there, an addict might even change gears and begin using another drug that is cheaper or easier to find. It’s not uncommon for something like a meth addiction to spring from something as small as taking a few pain pills after a surgery. The process doesn’t happen overnight, but the constant search for that high is a very tough thing to overcome, and it usually will take complete control over a person after an extended period of time.
The good news is that while a painkiller addiction may be tough to beat, it’s not impossible. While there is definitely a physical dependence associated with drug use, the mental dependence can be the most debilitating part. This is where rehab, a good counselor, and family and friends come in, not to mention having the desire to truly quit.
People are becoming more aware of the dangerous nature of painkillers which are supposed to alleviate medical conditions, not create new ones. Those with addictive personalities or history of drug abuse may need to be more cautious than others, but this is where a doctor comes in. Everyone who is prescribed painkillers must be honest with their doctor, and it is their responsibility to ensure every party is informed. Painkillers have their place, but their power to help is equally matched with a terrible risk of addiction.