Florida Prescription Drug Addiction Can Lead to Deadly Polydrug Abuse

Prescription drugs can be dangerous to your health, and many are seriously addictive and can even kill you. But a recent Florida study of drug-related deaths in Florida reveals that far more people suddenly fall victim to lethal drug combinations — called polydrug abuse — than to individual drugs, and it can happen to recreational users as well as those trapped by prescription drug addiction.

It’s common knowledge that prescription drug addiction has become a national nightmare. But sudden death from prescription drugs is the topic of news stories every day. The Florida study, an analysis of 168,900 deaths statewide in 2007 by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, found that deaths from prescription drugs were three times the rate of deaths caused by traditional illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

For example, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine caused 989 deaths, whereas legal painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin caused 2,328, the report states. And benzodiazepines, including antidepressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Although the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies increased 14 percent to 110, deaths from the opioid painkiller oxycodone increased 36 percent to 1,253 — more than 10 times as many as heroin.

Oxycodone is the heroin-like ingredient in the highly publicized and much-abused painkiller OxyContin, responsible for literally thousands of cases of prescription drug addiction, injury and death across the country. Obviously, heroin and oxycodone are interchangeable, and addicts are happy to get their hands on either drug.

But digging a little deeper into the statistics, we begin to see how polydrug dangers eclipse individual deaths. The report shows oxycodone implicated in 664 deaths in combination with other drugs, and only 41 by itself. The similar drug hydrocodone, available as Vicodin, Lortab, a ton of other brands, and generically, claimed 251 deaths in combination, and only 13 alone. Propoxyphene, well-known as Darvon, was connected to 76 deaths in combination with other substances, and only nine by itself.

Don’t forget that opioid painkillers, all on their own, are responsible for hundreds of times as many cases of prescription drug addiction than deaths, and every prescription drug addiction is a potential funeral just waiting to happen.

Now come the psych drugs — antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers and on and on, every bit as dangerous in their own lethal way as the opioids.

Diazepam, widely prescribed as Valium, was implicated in 171 deaths when combined with other drugs, and only three by itself. And alprazolam, best known by the trade name Xanax, was linked to 556 deaths in combination with other substances, and just six deaths alone.

This in no way minimizes the risk of prescription drug addiction caused by any single psych drug on its own, either. Every one of them, all on its own, can cause dependency or a prescription drug addiction, terrible side effects, withdrawal leading to injury, and even death.

But 10 times as many deaths from prescription drugs in combination with other drugs shows that polydrug abuse is a new and very serious problem. For those still alive and seeking recovery, a combination of prescription drug addiction and polydrug abuse is a complex problem for medical drug detox centers to deal with — more difficult to solve than a single prescription drug addiction. But thank goodness, when done properly, safe solutions are possible.

In the final analysis, the Florida report clearly illustrates how polydrug abuse can very quickly and unexpectedly end a life, before the victim has a chance to handle their dependency or addiction through a competent medical drug detox program.

Causes of Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction That You Should Know

Alcohol has a corrosive action on liver, and may also lead to complications of brain, heart, stomach, pancreas and other important organs of the body. A person becomes alcoholic when excessive intake of alcohol throws certain chemicals in the brain out of balance. This article briefly describes the major causes and ill-effects of alcoholism or alcohol addiction.

For instance imbalance in the brain chemicals such as gamma-aminobutyric acids and glutamate may increase a person’s craze for alcohol. The victim under such circumstances would invariably need alcohol to feel good or bar the advent of negative feelings. The victim suffers from severe withdrawal symptoms if he or she is kept away from alcohol. The treatment should start with cutting down the physical dependency on alcohol, and then taking necessary precautions to check relapse. Victim may go for rehabilitation programs to get rid of his or her addiction.

Causes of Alcoholism

1. Research gives an evidence of biological factors and genes promoting alcoholism. Inheritance of D2 dopamine receptor gene in a specific form may make a person vulnerable to alcoholism.

2. Family influence and craze for picking up high-profile and glamorous life habits as shown in advertisements and through the entertainment media sends a wrong message to people, thereby promoting alcoholism.

3. Certain stress hormones promote alcoholism. High levels of emotional upheaval, stress, depression and agony can cause a person seek peace in alcoholism. Such addiction grows out of mental turmoil.

4. Having poor self-confidence and suffering from depression may cause a person to become addicted to alcohol.

5. Frequent partying with friends or being in close contact with people who consume alcohol accelerates the risk of falling prey to alcoholism. The habit in this context grows through enablers

6. Studies show that youthful drinking of alcohol may lead to addiction in future. The earlier a person starts drinking, the more he is at the risk of becoming a prey to alcoholism.

Hope this article has helps you to understand the major causes and bad effects of alcoholism. It is also true that if someone is fully determined, it’s not impossible to overcome alcoholism.

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Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek the insights of a qualified health professional before embarking on any health program.

What Causes Addiction?

Addiction causes are not yet fully understood.

The prevailing attitude toward addiction has been disapproval as addiction was seen as personal failure, resulting from moral  weakness and a lack of discipline. The stigma has not been entirely lost and scientific evidence suggests that addition is primarily a biological phenomenon.

In some circles addiction has been described as a disease of the brain.

Addiction researchers have asserted that alcoholism and other dependent states have a genetic bases. Alcohol dependence was thought to be influenced by genes as well as the environment as the risk for alcohol related problems seemed to be higher in the children of alcoholics.

While studies may support the genetic predisposition, identifying the specific genes that lead to the increased risk of addiction has been laborious, but it has been confirmed that that people with a different form of a certain gene are more susceptible to addiction. It is hope that further research into gene therapy can actually lead to the development of new treatment for alcoholics and other drug dependencies.

Research documenting the impact of drugs on the brain may shed some light on why some people may be more prone to addiction than others.

Drug abuse along with other potentially addictive activities such as gambling, sex, or some cases shopping causes the brain to brain to release dopamine, a chemical involved in experiencing pleasure. The surge in dopamine production appears to be powerful enough to compel the user to keep taking the drug or engaging in the behaviour. With prolonged use, the drugs can alter the brain so that experiencing pleasure without the drug is near impossible. and at this point the drug is used to stave off painful withdrawal symptoms. Based on the research, the theory has been surmised that people who are deficient in dopamine are more likely to become addicts.

While most agree that biology may play an important part in addiction, there is still some division, as one group believes that addiction is primarily a behavioral problem that is influenced by biology. They contend that labeling addiction as medical condition similar to diabetes or heart disease can create a false impression that addicts have no control over their own behavior. In the view of this group, people become addicts mostly because of their behavior and not brain chemistry.

There is still very much to learn about how the brain actually works and research is continuing and questions are still being asked.

Critics contend the medical theory of addiction may be flawed, because most people who take drugs do not become addicted.

Addiction to nicotine, which is purportedly more addictive than heroin, can be kicked solely on willpower. The dopamine theory has also come under some criticism with the assertion that the range of activities that stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain far too wide to denote any behavioral tendencies. Addiction to sex, chocolate,work or eating are not related. “Chocolate stimulates the pleasure centers, but only a few people may compulsively eat chocolate or gamble”

The contrasting perspectives on addiction, biological or behavioral has influenced debate over the best treatment for addiction.

Counseling and medication is favored by those who believe that addiction is a disease and believe that controlled abstinence may be  the best way to break the habit.

In contrast,opponents of the disease model may insist that addiction can be treated without any psychological or medical intervention.

Research and studies continues to be warranted into finding the best and most effective treatment for addiction.