Which Painkillers Are Most Commonly Abused?

There is a long list of prescription painkillers that are now commonly abused. Morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and codeine are at the top of the list, but they also give way to many derivatives that have been assigned creative street names.

Opioids comprise a fairly broad set of drugs that all share the underlying neurological effects of opium; some of the most commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, codeine, morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. Opioids are the most commonly abused painkillers in Minnesota with two major causes. First, opioids produce feelings of well-being and euphoria that can be highly addictive, especially with risk factors such as chronic stress. Second, the proliferation of prescriptions for opioids in treating severe and chronic pain means that exposure to opioids is very likely, and said chronic pain could present a reason to escape into opioid abuse. Even with well-intentioned use and careful moderation by doctors, abuse presents a very real risk that many struggles with.

One of the fastest spreading epidemics in the U.S. is prescription painkiller abuse. The proliferation of synthetic pain pills being prescribed for all kinds of medical reasons has made these pills widely available.

Oftentimes abuse begins as a legitimate need to manage pain and transforms into addiction over time. Even with doctors proactively trying to ween people off of these dangerous drugs, many people grapple with the reality of hidden abuse.

Painkiller Abuse in Minnesota

Minnesota is not exempt from the widespread abuse of painkillers that has been sweeping across the nation. According to Minnesota’s Dose of Reality program, more than 2,700 Minnesotans have died from opioid abuse in the last 15 years, and more than 80 percent of those deaths were related to prescription drugs.

Symptoms of Painkiller Abuse

Painkiller abuse is all too easily hidden or overlooked to start, and victims may not even fully realize what they are getting themselves into. As overuse of opioids continues, more apparent symptoms arise with detrimental effects on physical and cognitive health, such as:

  • Notable changes in personal appearance, from pupil constriction and excessive scabs and sores to weight loss and neglected hygiene
  • Nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems
  • Loss of concentration, drowsiness, and a sense of detachment or dissociation
  • Onset or worsening of depression, anxiety, paranoia, and emotional outbursts
  • A disconnect or isolation from people or pursuits important in one’s life

Certain behaviors also indicate an increasing dependence on opioids: the person may be prone to unexplained absences and sudden disappearances to partake in opioids, and they may exaggerate the pain they suffer to justify getting more. Agitation, irritability, and mood swings that arise from withdrawal drive these behavioral changes, and victims may become desperate in obtaining another dose to stave off said withdrawal. This can lead to lying to family and friends, arranging for prescriptions from multiple doctors, or stealing medication from others.

Risks of Painkiller Abuse

Painkiller abuse is all too easily hidden or overlooked to start, and victims may not even fully realize what they are getting themselves into. As overuse of opioids continues, more apparent symptoms arise with detrimental effects on physical and cognitive health, such as:

  • Notable changes in personal appearance, from pupil constriction and excessive scabs and sores to weight loss and neglected hygiene Nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems
  • Loss of concentration, drowsiness, and a sense of detachment or dissociationOnset or worsening of depression, anxiety, paranoia, and emotional outbursts
  • A disconnector isolation from people or pursuits important in one’s life

Certain behaviors also indicate an increasing dependence on opioids: the person may be prone to unexplained absences and sudden disappearances to partake in opioids, and they may exaggerate the pain they suffer to justify getting more. Agitation, irritability, and mood swings that arise from withdrawal drive these behavioral changes, and victims may become desperate in obtaining another dose to stave off said withdrawal. This can lead to lying to family and friends, arranging for prescriptions from multiple doctors, or stealing medication from others.

Getting Help at the Anthony Louis Center

If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms described here following prescription to opioids, help is available from specialists, medical experts, and counselors. Contact the Anthony Louis Center today and take back control over your life.

There are ways to overcome prescription painkiller abuse and get back to a healthy life free of pain. The Anthony Louis Center is here to help you or your loved ones cope with the realities of prescription drug abuse and learn to live without the help of painkillers long term.

We understand that prescription painkiller abuse often occurs as an unintentional side effect of medical treatments and can be difficult to face on your own.

We are here to help you take a stand against the crisis that is facing Americans from all walks of life. Contact us today to speak with an addiction specialist now!