When people talk about drug abuse, they typically mean illegal drugs. Heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines usually come to mind. And, yes, if you are using any of these, you need to get help as soon as possible. I’ll talk about this form of addiction later on.
But, what about those drugs you obtain with a prescription? Pain pills, muscle relaxers, etc. can be a real problem as well. I’ve seen people who wouldn’t dream of using an illegal substance become so addicted to a prescription drug that they do things I’m sure if they were thinking straight, they’d never consider.
Do you go to more than one doctor to get pain pills, etc without letting each of them know about the other? Do you go to different pharmacies? Do you routinely take more than the recommended dosage? Do you find another doctor when one starts talking about weaning you off your medication? Do you sometimes go to the ER for pain because you know your own doctor won’t give you a prescription?
If you answered yes to any of those, you probably have a problem. One that is every bit as dangerous as one involving illegal substances.
I recently had a chat with someone who works as an investigator for a big city medical examiner’s office. He said that he’s seen more deaths from prescription abuse in the last year than from illegal drugs. I don’t doubt that at all.
When I worked as an investigator for family court services, there were cases where ordinarily law abiding citizens had been arrested for forging prescriptions. Or, they’d been arrested for having medication on their persons for which they had no prescription. Sometimes these illegal gotten drugs from the street weren’t quality drugs and someone ended up in the hospital.
Those who abuse prescribed medications have every bit of the same type of problems as those using illegal substances. And, as for parenting, it limits your ability in that regard as well.
If you’re high or zoned out, sleeping all day, you’re not doing the things that you need to do to take care of your child. You may be giving them the bare minimum, but that’s not all they need. And, if they’re very young, you’re putting them at risk.
For those of you involved in custody litigation, you’re just as prone to losing custody or having supervised visitation as someone using an illegal substance. You can be subject to drug testing and prescription drugs can and will be tested for. Just having a prescription won’t get you off the hook, either. The lab can test the levels of the drug in your system and usually determine if you’re taking more than you should be.
So, what should you do if you realize you have a problem? Talk with your doctor. If you really are dealing with a chronic issue such as pain, your doctor can help you find a specialist in pain management.
You may also need to seek the help of a mental health professional. Or, if bad enough, you may even need professional detox in the hospital. But, you need to get help as soon as possible. Not only for yourself, but for your kids.
I’m not minimizing any conditions you may have with pain. I certainly understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. I’ve done so for nearly 19 years. The last year has been especially difficult.
I’m lucky, I guess. I hate the way pain pills make me feel. I can’t even imagine liking them enough to become addicted, but I know not everyone has the same reaction.
Plus, I’ve seen what over use can do to people first hand in my work. So, I have an added incentive not to use them. I rarely do. I have to find other ways to deal with the pain. Which isn’t easy. And, I don’t expect whatever way you find to deal with it will be easy either.
What about you? Do you think prescription drug abuse is as serious as illegal substance abuse? Do you think it affects children in the home? Do you have tips on how you manage chronic pain?
*NOTE: Here’s my typical disclaimer for these posts–These opinions are mine alone and are based on my years of experience. They are not meant as legal advice nor as representative of anyone else’s opinion. If you need legal advice (and I believe if you’re involved in child custody litigation, you really do), please consult with an attorney.