Prescription Drug Abuse

No one sets out to become addicted to prescription drugs. For many people, the path to addiction starts with medication that’s prescribed following an accident or surgery, or to treat mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. But prescription medications generally are not intended to be taken long-term and some are highly addictive.

At Journey, we understand that once you’ve become addicted to prescription drugs, quitting can be complicated by withdrawal symptoms and possibly a return of pain that was temporarily suppressed by the drugs. These feelings often lead back to drug use.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Journey can help. We believe in treating your addiction and any underlying causes such as co-occurring depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, with a blend of traditional and holistic therapies. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.

When you arrive at Journey you will be assessed by a multidisciplinary team that will address medical and pain management issues related to your addiction.You will be assigned a therapist who specializes in treating addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. Treatment plans are highly individualized and include individual and group therapy and a wealth of complementary therapies designed to promote healing, such as:

  • Holistic therapies guided by a naturopathic practitioner
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Sweat lodge experience
  • Recreational outings, including hikes, museums, gym
  • Service to the community

When you leave Journey, you will be equipped with effective coping skills, a strong support network, and a clear strategy for living a life free of addiction.

The Prescription Drug Addiction Epidemic

Addiction to prescription drugs, particularly narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone (Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) has proven to be more deadly than addiction to some illegal drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007 prescription drug overdoses resulted in four times as many deaths as heroin overdoses and twice as many as cocaine.

In addition, the National Safety Council reported that 45 people die every day from opioid prescription painkillers, making these drugs more deadly than heroin and cocaine combined. The U.S. contains only 4.6 percent of the world’s population but consumes 80 percent of the world’s opioids and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (taken for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy).


Examples include fentanyl (Duragesic), hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), oxymorphone (Opana), propoxyphene (Darvon), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil). The two biggest culprits in overdose drug deaths are in the category of drugs used for the treatment of pain: hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Prescription opiates are a gateway to heroin. And while heroin overdose deaths receive significant media attention and have increased 45 percent between 2006 and 2010, prescription painkiller deaths have risen by more than 300 percent since 1999.


Added to the deadly cocktail mix are drugs from the “benzo” family. Examples include pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax). These prescription drugs are often prescribed to treat anxiety. These drugs are CNS depressants that can cause a person to stop breathing.


Examples include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta), and amphetamines (Adderall). Stimulants temporarily increase alertness and energy. Short-term effects of stimulant use include exhaustion, apathy and depression–the “down” that follows the “up.” This exhaustion leads the stimulant user to want the drug again. Long-term stimulant use can lead to addiction. Repeated high doses of some stimulants over a short period of time can result in feelings of hostility or paranoia and can also result in dangerously high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.