The issue of prescription drug addiction is one that most people became more familiar with when pop legend Prince accidentally overdosed on fentanyl in April 2016. After his death, news reports said the star had been suffering from a twenty-five-year-long addiction to opioid medications and that his death was a result of an accidental overdose of a drug that is reputed to be fifty times stronger than heroin – fentanyl.
Did Prince Know He Was Taking Fentanyl?
Recent reports after a police investigation have suggested that the singer may not have been aware that he was taking the powerful drug. This is after searches of Paisley Park, Prince’s home, uncovered bottles that contained fentanyl but which were labelled as other pills such as antibiotics or conventional painkillers like Tylenol.
However, his former drug dealer has said that Prince was acutely aware of what his drugs contained and that he deliberately bought mislabelled bottles in order to keep his prescription drug addiction a secret. The dealer, known as Doctor D, said, “The mix of hydrocodone and fentanyl is not something that happens by mistake; it’s a combination that a dealer can make up for his client. Prince will have been aware of the mix. If there was a pill with fentanyl in it, then he had to have had it made up and he knew 100%.”
How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Lead to Addiction
It is alleged that Prince started taking strong painkillers to treat a hip problem; unfortunately, this is how numerous people who develop an addiction to opioid medications get started. A doctor prescribes them strong painkillers or sedatives for a legitimate reason.
Although they may be warned of the addictive nature of the medication, many still believe these to be perfectly safe as a doctor has prescribed them. If these individuals then begin to notice that the medication is not working so well after a week or two, they may think nothing of upping their dosage without consulting their doctor. This is classed as prescription drug abuse and could result in an addiction developing.
Those who take prescription medication are in danger of building up a tolerance to the drug. This means that their body gets used to the effects, and the relief they feel is not as intense as it was when they first started to take it. This often leads people to take higher doses or take their prescribed dose at more frequent intervals.
As these individuals continue to abuse the medication, they may become physically dependent on it without even realising. It is only when getting near to the end of their prescription that they may notice they are feeling quite anxious about the fact.
It is not uncommon for those with a prescription drug addiction to seek alternatives to their prescription once it runs out and they cannot get another one from their doctor. Many will search online for pills, which could mean they end up buying fake versions of the drug they are looking for. This can be very dangerous, especially if they have an adverse reaction to some of the chemicals in the pills. Buying fake pills online can result in serious physical side effects and even death.
Others will go to more extreme measures and will turn to illegal street drugs such as heroin. Many heroin addicts developed their addictions having first been addicted to a prescription opioid medication.
Treating Prescription Drug Addiction
If any good news can come out of all this, then it is the fact that help is available for prescription drug addiction. This illness is a substance addiction and treatment is similar to that provided for those with addictions to illegal drugs or alcohol. It typically involves a programme of detox followed by rehabilitation.