Prescription Drug Addiction
The use of prescription medications for non-medical reasons such as without a doctor’s prescription and supervision is dangerous and should never be done.
Even patients with addiction or abuse who are taking medications as prescribed and under a doctor’s supervision may need assistance in safely and comfortably tapering off medications especially pain medications and sedatives.
Problems with prescription medications may include:
- Overuse – taking more than prescribed
- Misuse – taking for reasons other than prescribed such as to relieve stress, boost mood, or using pain medication to help sleep
- Overdose, and physical dependence/withdrawal symptoms
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the Lifeline’s website or the Crisis Text Line’s website.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
A variety of options are available for treating a substance use disorder including:
- Detoxification (stopping use safely/comfortably)
- May be done at an inpatient facility or possibly as an outpatient (at home)
- Inpatient or residential treatment program (“Rehab”)
- Outpatient counseling (“Relapse prevention”)
- Medication-Assisted Therapy or Office-based Treatment. This is the model used by PNI Addiction Medicine.
If you think you may have a problem with drugs, alcohol, and/or prescription medications, take the following quiz, print out the last page, and bring it in to review with one of our clinicians.
Addiction Medicine Specialist
Dr. Keith Heinzerling practices internal medicine and is an addiction medicine specialist at the Pacific Brain Health Center, Pacific Neuroscience Institute. His research and clinical focuses are on the discovery, development, and dissemination of anti-addiction medications.