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Prescription Drug Addiction

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Prescription Drug Addiction

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating those with prescription drug addiction and relatable disorders that may contribute to their substance abuse; this includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally

Prescription painkillers are great for the short-term of relieving pain; however, when dependence occurs, it becomes a significant concern in our society. The most popular painkillers are opiates that work by shutting down the pain signals in the brain. While receiving pain meds is warranted after surgery or from a disease, many people become addicted when they overuse or use them for too long. Statistics show people that are addicted to these medications most likely will go on to use illegal or illicit drugs.

Drugs like Morphine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Librium, and others have a high incidence of addiction; it doesn’t discriminate against age, race, education levels, or economic backgrounds; thus, anyone can become susceptible to prescription drug addiction.

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Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

People who depend on prescription drugs have a psychological need or craving for the medication that, in return, causes adverse effects. To ensure they can get their “fix,” addicts will typically lie about needing them even when their pain is gone. You will notice behavior changes that include a free-falling pattern in social interactions and recreational activities; If they don’t have the money to continue their addiction, often, they will make up reasons for needing it from their family or friends. This behavior tends to alter family dynamics concerning strained relations.

Several factors go into addiction and a person’s propensity for it: length with which the drug is used, a person’s disposition to it, their stress response, and whether the dose is higher than prescribed. This is why addiction can develop rapidly and hence the drastic changes in behavior and body effects. It’s vital that family/friends recognize the following signs that a loved one is beginning an addiction. These signs include:
  • Behavior changes like anxiety to depression
  • Doctor shopping to get a new prescription of the medication
  • Getting painkillers online or stealing other people’s medication
  • Making excuses to get more of the drug
  • leftover drugs, buying other people’s prescriptions or buying them off the street
  • Feeling angry if someone talks to them about their medication
  • Anger when a physician limits doses
    Irritability at family or friends
Noticing these signs in yourself or a loved one indicates the need for a medically-supervised detoxification program.

Prescription Drug Types & Medications

For the last number of years, prescription drug addiction has exploded, particularly concerning opioids. Many drugs have habit-forming substances in them and physically change people’s brains. This has resulted in increased hospital visits and drug treatment cases. Synthetic opioids like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone make up many pain-relieving drugs. Brand names of the most abused painkillers include Lortab, Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin. These drugs are either depressants or stimulants and grouped into the prescription type, medication type, and associated brand names.


  • Morphine (Roxinol, Duramorph)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycodone, Roxicet, Percodan)
  • Codeine (Robitussin,
  • Tylenol 3, Soma, Colorex)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq)
  • Hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)


  • Barbiturates (Luminal, Nembutal)
  • Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Limbitrol)
  • Sleep Aid (Ambian, Lunesta)


  • Methylphenidate-based (Ritalin, Concerta)
  • Amphetamine-based (Adderall)

Explanation of Drug Types


This class of drugs is labeled as Codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Oxycontin, Morphine, and Vicodin. The job of these drugs is to block the brain’s pain perception; they do this by releasing dopamine, the feel-good hormone. This is why using these drugs enable someone to develop an addiction quickly. Note that using these drugs as your doctor prescribes won’t cause harm, but in high doses–even with one high dose–could result in respiratory failure or death. When combined with alcohol or other substances, the danger increases.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Known as tranquilizers or sedatives, this class of drugs affects the central nervous system by depressing or slowing down brain functioning. It affects people by eliciting a feeling of calm or drowsiness and is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Xanax, Librium, and Valium fall into the categories of barbiturates and benzodiazepines. When used long-term, these drugs can lead to dependency or addiction. Stopping the medication abruptly is dangerous and could result in hallucinations and seizures, so it’s imperative they are stopped gradually or under the supervision of a doctor in a medical facility.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Stimulants excite the nervous system. These classes of drugs cause people to become more alert and full of energy and are why college students use them when cramming for exams and finals. They are used for behavioral disorders, including OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), as well as fatigue, tiredness, and depression. They allow people to feel happy or euphoric and craving more of the drug when they come down off them.

When taken, stimulants raise heart rate and blood pressure; but, taking the drug in higher doses may cause irregular heartbeats and heart failure in some cases. There are several withdrawal symptoms of stimulants that include nausea and vomiting, anxiety, sweating, trembling, irregular sleep patterns, such as insomnia, and fatigue, and depression.

To make a complete recovery and have a reduced risk of relapse, a person dealing with prescription drug addiction will need a professional rehab center. A caring and supportive staff will monitor patients to ensure their safety as they detox and overcome their addiction.
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Joy Downen

10 weeks ago

This place is so wonderful and all of the staff care so very much! They are very professional and they know what they are doing. Absolutely amazing facility and staff!!!
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Nathan Frame

28 weeks ago

Steps Recovery is the place you go if you want a caring and understanding program. They have helped me gain knowledge about myself and what I want/need to do. The staff there can relate and help you through core issues and they push you to do better because being in this program you know you can do big and amazing things. Also the therapists there are awesome and walk with you through struggles of life and give you the tools you truly need. Overall this place is an amazing opportunity and you’d be missing out on a lot if you chose to not at least try this program.
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Shaylesa Stulce

46 weeks ago

Steps Recovery in St. George has been amazing! I’m so excited to use the tools that I’ve learned here! The staff is amazing, and very understanding! I would recommend them to anyone struggling with addiction!
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Adam Kelly

47 weeks ago

What I liked most about my time at Steps is the atmosphere that was presented during my whole stay. I have done a lot of treatment centers and this one is by far the one I have felt I gained the most from. I would highly recommend Steps to anybody struggling with addiction!
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Gary Hanson

47 weeks ago

Steps saved our daughter’s life as well as her kids!
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Natalie Painter

Jan 1, 2019

The staff and facility is amazing- Couldn’t ask for anything better. The program is well rounded with rec activities, equine therapy, gender therapy, group therapy, individual and couples therapy, and also attends various 12 Step support groups such as AA or NA. They also have family therapy and processing with options for individual settings or in a group. These help families understand what their loved ones who suffer from addiction is going through and how to support them, and also gives them their own support system.
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Nov 13, 2018

This place saved my life! The therapists were very helpful, friendly and really cared about the clients wellbeing. The tech’s were alway helpful with meds and anything that was needed. House manager was amazing, had high expectations on job duties, and kept a very clean organized atmosphere. Food was always amazing. I never went hungry! The information and skills that I have learned and applied to my life are priceless. If you’re not willing to put forth the work to change your life this is not your place, but if you are this is the first Step to take. I Love everyone at Steps. Thank you for all your help
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Matthew Cromar

Aug 10, 2018

I’d been to other recovery centers before but this one was the best, it stuck because I was willing to do the work, and with the help I received from staff I am now celebrating a year of sobriety in a couple of days. Update; I’m now 18 months sober as of yesterday and I still keep in touch with my steps family. The lessons I learned at steps will stick with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for giving me my life back.
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