Each year millions of American's take prescription pills for pain management, otherwise known as opioids; they take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and stimulants for conditions such as ADHD found in children, teens and adults. While these various pills can be habit forming; anyone can truly break free of a prescription pill addiction.
While our society and media play up prescription pill abuse, the true problem found around the country today is that traditional drug rehabs and detox centers are using replacement therapy to help their patients as a long term solution to addiction. Replacement therapy is replacing one drug habit for another, but this form of therapy is ineffective and can lead to a second addiction problem.
Due to the high ineffectiveness of replacement therapy for a prescription pill addiction, an estimated 8 million people a year abuse prescription medications. Some people end up "abusing" prescription pills even though they initially attended a program for a different substance addiction. Take for example a person who came to detox for an alcohol problem, and was given xanax, ativan, klonopin or valium during detox. Many times they are given long term prescriptions for these drugs to take home with them to combat anxiety issues. It is thought that without the anxiety the individual is more likely to not drink. This person, according to treatment's standards, may be "successful" at not consuming alcohol but many then begin abusing their prescription medications, and once again in need of prescription drug rehab. And many actually do resume alcohol use combined with the prescription pills leading to higher rates of substance abuse, accidental overdose and even death. This leads to a vicious cycle of repeated detox and drug rehab stays.
Some prescription pill users legally take pain killers, but then begin relying on them for complete pain management leading to habit forming usage. An example of this would be a patient taking vicodin for back pain after surgery, but due to the excessive pain, the patient is now habitually using vicodin and needs detox. While in detox, the patient is given methadone to help with the withdrawal effects. The detox center, like many, fails to properly wean the patients off of methadone and may even tell the patient they will need to be on methadone long term. Thus they are now using methadone on a regular basis. Replacement therapies will keep anyone in a revolving door to drug rehab because using one drug to stop another drug habit is an unproductive form of treatment.
While many people begin their habits legally through a prescription by a doctor, there is also a high street market for illegal use of these drugs; most commonly, Ritalin, Vicodin (hydrocodone), methadone, oxycodone, xanax and valium. Individuals abusing these pills can administer them through snorting, injecting, swallowing, smoking, chewing or entering them as suppositories.
The Saint Jude Retreats program does not support replacement therapy, and can recommend a few different detox centers around the country for those who may need medical detox services prior to attending the program. These detox centers successfully wean patients off of their drug use properly and safely. While many drug rehab centers claim that a prescription pill addiction is a true disease, Saint Jude's helps people realize that once the medical detox process is complete, addiction is nothing more than a habitual way of thinking and behaving. Saint Jude's provides outstanding services to each and every guest at our retreats houses.