Prescription Drug Addiction in Jacksonville
There is a call made to 911 for help for an overdose victim nearly every day in Jacksonville, on average. According to the local Fire Department, there are spots of extreme concentration around Jacksonville when it comes to drug abuse. The Urban Core downtown, Arlington, and the Five Points area are hotbeds of drug overdose in Jacksonville. In the year 2015, the Fire Rescue Department of Jacksonville responded to more than 2,000 overdose cases, a number that rose close to 3,500 the following year.
Prescription painkillers are often gateways to substance abuse. Addiction can occur, for example, when people are prescribed opioid painkillers for painful conditions for long periods of time. Extended use of opioids can lead to addictive tendencies. When a doctor ends a prescription course, the patient, addicted after extended exposure, may attempt to gain access to the drug with another doctor, or with a dealer.
While prescription drugs can create a powerful hold on the mind, addiction and dependence can be overcome. The road from addiction to sobriety can be long, hard and challenging, however. Not only do you need to put yourself through detoxification treatment, where you come off drugs and go through painful withdrawal symptoms, you need to submit to months of therapeutic intervention to learn mental skills and life skills to overcome psychological and emotional dependence.
It’s important to understand that being addicted to a drug is not a state that people choose to be in. Long exposure to addictive substances simply makes changes to the structure of the brain, and causes inevitable addictive tendencies. Once addicted, a person cannot simply choose to walk away. The psychological hold on the mind can be powerful. It takes long-term prescription drug rehab treatment to break free.
Understanding the Signs of Rx Addiction
When a person suffers from prescription drug addiction, it isn’t always clear to them that they have a problem. If you use prescription painkillers or stimulants, it can help to look for the following signs to determine that your pattern of use isn’t entirely trouble-free:
- You’ve made your pain or other symptoms out to be worse than they are in order to get the doctor to write you a prescription.
- You’ve been taking more pills than the doctor has recommended.
- You’ve been considering going to different doctors for the same problem, just so that you can get another prescription.
Other than these extrinsic signs, drug abuse comes with intrinsic symptoms, as well. If you abuse opioid painkillers, sedatives or anxiolytics, you may experience brain fog, slowed breathing, and trouble with your balance and coordination. If it is stimulants that you use too much of, you could experience high blood pressure, extreme alertness, poor appetite, and difficulty sleeping. With any of these drugs, dependence also becomes evident when you need to take greater quantities over time to produce the effect that you desire.
Why Rx Addiction Is On the Rise
Prescription opioids exist to help people who struggle with long-term pain. Prescription stimulants are intended for those who battle conditions such as attention deficit disorder. Anti-anxiety medications are meant for people who have trouble with excessive anxiety. For people who have these conditions, these drugs help improve quality of life. Doctors, however, sometimes prescribe these medications too generously, putting them into the lives of too many people.
Some people are simply naturally predisposed to addictive tendencies. When these drugs are prescribed to these people, they tend to become trapped in patterns of drug abuse and addiction. Even once prescriptions do run out, these drugs are easily available on the street, especially in states like Florida.
The Most Abused Rx Medications
Prescription drug abuse, the use of prescription drugs for purposes that aren’t medically valid, is surprisingly common. Studies show that close to 20 million Americans use prescription drugs without a doctor’s recommendation, at least once a year. Opioid painkillers such as fentanyl, codeine, and oxycodone are commonly prescribed by doctors for chronic pain, and are also easily available through illegal channels. They are frequently used together with alcohol for recreational purposes.
Drugs such as alprazolam and diazepam are intended for people struggling with anxiety. These drugs, that are collectively known as benzodiazepines, are sought after for their ability to create the kind of buzz that alcohol is known for, to lower inhibitions, and to relax the mind. Just as with prescription opioids, these drugs are widely prescribed, and are also cheaply available on the street.
Ritalin is prescribed a great deal for conditions such as ADHD. While prescription rates have dropped now after public concern over excessive use, not long ago, pharmacies filled more than 10 million prescriptions a year. Another stimulant, Adderall, is commonly used by students working to prepare for deadlines or examinations. The drug helps drive sleep away, and narrowly focuses the mind, making it an asset for these purposes. Some studies show that one in ten college students use the drug for its performance-enhancing effects. Workers such as long-haul truck drivers use stimulants to stay awake on the road, as well.
The Dangers of Rx Addiction
It’s important to understand that addiction to prescription drugs is no less harmful to the health than addiction to street drugs. These medications are cleared for public use for very specific purposes, and for limited periods of time. When used recreationally, the addiction that results can destroy lives.
Prescription opioids, stimulants and anxiolytics act on parts of the brain that are connected with the formation of habits linked to essential survival mechanisms. With repeated exposure to these drugs, the brain learns the drug habit, just as it learns life-affirming activities such as raising a child or working for a living. Once the brain connects to the use of drugs in this way, addiction is said to have formed, and it can be difficult to break free.
The only scientifically proven way of escaping an addiction is to find a professional rehabilitation program like Legacy Healing Center serving Jacksonville. Legacy Healing offers drug and alcohol rehab for Jacksonville residents. Treatment involves medication to help you safely through the detox process and customized, holistic treatment help erase old habits and create new, healthy ones.
For more information on our treatment programs and facilities in South Florida, call Legacy Healing Center today at
Sober-friendly Attractions near Jacksonville
It is important to stay active and engaged in sober-friendly activities after you’ve completed a treatment program.
No matter how you like to spend your free time – enjoying adventure games, experimenting with new kinds of cuisine, surfing or swimming, Jacksonville has something for you. The Escape Game Jacksonville challenges your inner adventurer. You’re placed in different surroundings in different mission games like the Gold Rush, the Heist and Prison Break, to find clues, surmount challenges and win.
If you’re an animal lover, you can swim with dolphins at the Marineland Dolphin Conservation Center, and admire a couple of thousand exotic animals at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. For activities and adventures of the great outdoors, you can spend all day at the Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island adventure destinations.
Whether you like to explore the wilderness or try activities like rollerblading, biking or hiking, these destinations offer wonderful possibilities. Jacksonville is an exciting place to be.
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Absolutely beautiful! Staff is so caring and welcoming. Highly recommend to anyone who is struggling and looking to heal. This is the place for you!Jacqueline C.
Honestly, it's not what you imagine when thinking "detox." Legacy made my experience so comfortable from beds, food, staff and such a clean facility. Besides all that they literally gave me life back. Forever thankful.Avi S.