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Turning Points: Prescription Drugs

Today it seems we cannot open a paper or turn on the TV without hearing about the drug epidemic. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, or whatever new a lethal substance that’s popular seem to dominate the headlines. In Thailand, rarely does a week go by that we don’t read about another huge drug bust of millions dollars’ worth of drugs.

Health
By The Phuket News

Tuesday 8 January 2019, 11:00AM


One type of drug problem that comprises about one-third of addiction cases is often the most under-reported; that of prescription drug addiction. Photo: RawPixel.com / Pexels

One type of drug problem that comprises about one-third of addiction cases is often the most under-reported; that of prescription drug addiction. Photo: RawPixel.com / Pexels

However, one type of drug problem that comprises about one-third of addiction cases is often the most under-reported; that of prescription drug addiction.

The types or category of prescription drugs most widely abused may differ from country to country. In the U.S. and the U.K. Opiates, such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Demerol are widely abused. In Scandinavia sedatives and tranquilizers are the preferred pharmaceutical drug, while in South America, amphetamine based drugs, such as Ritalin, are problematic.

Thailand has strict controls over medical grade pain killers and stimulants, but anti-anxiety medications classified as benzodiazepine (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, etc… ) are the number one addicted prescription drug type.

Although benzodiazepine are controlled substances and are supposed to only be prescribed by licensed psychiatrists, they can be found everywhere from clinics, to under the counter pharmacies, to card tables on the sidewalks of Sukhumvit in Bangkok.

Benzodiazepine are often used for anxiety reduction, sleep aid and general relaxation. However, sometimes a person may be using multiple versions of the same drug category for different reasons; creating amplified results.

While all addictive drugs involve a measure of detox or withdrawal when stopped, Benzodiazepine literally remap the neuropathways and rapid detox can be life threatening, resulting in stroke, seizures or heart attack.

A “benzo” taper involves slowly decreasing the dosage to reduce complications possibly lasting a year or more.

Detoxing from prescription pain killers is a briefer but still dangerous endeavor. It is strongly suggested that the stopping of chronic use of any prescription drug be approached with caution and under medical supervision.

If you feel you have a problem with prescription drugs, please contact a doctor or addiction specialist.


Craig Gagnon, Clinical Director of Miracles Asia, an Addiction & Mental Wellness Centre in Phuket. Visit www.miraclesasia.com or email info@miraclesasia.com or call 076 529 510.

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