In 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health found that the presence of fentanyl was reported in more than 2,000 toxicology reports of decedents. Comparatively, heroin was mentioned in about 1,500 reports, and cocaine was mentioned in about 1,000. The findings for non-opioid prescriptions were not as remarkable.
There were thousands of suspected drug-related deaths in 2020, and in early 2021, there were 540. However, there are also overdoses every year with benzodiazepines, depressants, stimulants, antidepressants, and other prescriptions.
Substance misuse grew significantly during 2020 in New Jersey and other states because of the pandemic. Governor Murphy recently shared the grim opioid-related death statistics from 2020 and pledged the state’s continuing commitment to battling the opioid crisis. To demonstrate this, the 2022 budget includes provisions for opioid treatment program assistance, harm reduction services, drug diversion, and a variety of supportive social programs. Also, there is a new initiative to allow income assistance to qualifying people who have drug convictions.
What is Prescription Drug Addiction?
Although there is still a stigma surrounding addiction, it is important to remember that it is not a choice. With prescription drugs, addiction can result from taking the medication as directed or misusing it. Prescription drug misuse happens when people take a higher dose or too many doses of a prescribed substance.
When people depend on a drug or misuse it, the substance changes how the brain works. This is why modern professionals recognize addiction as a brain disease. Because of how addiction affects people, it can be a chronic and relapsing disease without proper treatment.
How Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters
When someone reads words on a page, eats, or does anything else, the brain uses neurotransmitters to send information from one neuron to another. The resulting signals from different types of neurotransmitters affect how people feel, think and act. However, neurons can also adapt and reconfigure.
By design, drugs affect one type of neurotransmitter or a group of them. The purpose of opioids is to mimic the effects of enkephalin and endorphins, and this reaction slows respiration, decreases the perception of pain, and lowers alertness. The design of some stimulants affects dopamine to increase activity and produce a euphoric feeling. However, many drugs have this effect in common, which is a key contributor to addiction.
Whether the actions of a drug mimic neurotransmitters or alter neurotransmission activity, the effects on the brain can be lasting. To compensate for the changes in neurotransmission, the brain makes alterations of its own. It may reduce its complement of dopamine receptors to deal with dopamine surges.
The effect of this change is an increased susceptibility to withdrawal and dependence. As the brain adjusts to the changes the substance brings, removing it suddenly can be dangerous and will cause unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea and others.
Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Addiction
Since drug use affects multiple regions in the brain, and various regions control different actions, there are several possible effects of addiction and misuse. The effects and symptoms also depend on the type of prescription drug.
These are some signs of prescription drug addiction and misuse:
- Dizziness and poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Digestive issues
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or depression
- Vomiting or nausea
These are some signs of depressant misuse:
- Slow reflexes and trouble walking
- Lack of judgment
- Slurred speech
- Slowed breathing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
These are some signs of stimulant dependence or misuse:
- Insomnia and nervousness
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Increased blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
Signs That Someone May Have A Prescription Drug Addiction
Most people try to hide their prescription misuse from others. In some cases, it is especially hard to tell. For example, if a person does not have any known history of taking a prescription that leads to addiction, it can be harder to determine if there is misuse. However, if someone recently had surgery and has a pain pill prescription, it may be easier to notice signs of addiction. There are several noticeable signs that someone is misusing prescription medication. These are some examples:
- The person is suddenly acting very secretive or closely guards a bag, a purse, or some other personal belonging.
- At work, the individual takes long or frequent breaks.
- The person is moodier or gets upset easily, especially when confronted about behavior changes.
- The individual is neglecting responsibilities and withdrawing from social activities.
- There are empty pill bottles in the individual’s home or desk drawers.
- The person is neglecting hygiene and changing daily routines.
- Compared to past behavior, the individual behaves more recklessly and may have new and unusual legal or financial troubles.
Treatments for Prescription Drug Addiction In New Jersey
At Kingsway Recovery, we offer a variety of addiction treatment programs at our Gloucester County facility. We treat people with a variety of needs, such as addiction and various mental health conditions.
Our integrated model of treatment is highly effective and maximizes success. Combining holistic treatments and specialized programs, we provide comprehensive and individualized treatment to help people meet their goals and fulfill their unique needs. These are our main treatments for prescription drug addiction at our facility.
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Program
Since addiction and mental health issues often co-occur, it is important to work with a facility that recognizes and treats both simultaneously. Without treating an underlying mental health issue that may cause a person to use a substance in the first place, the risk of relapse is higher.
For example, if a person turns to stimulants because of severe depression, only removing the stimulants through detox leaves the depression untreated. The person may turn back to substances when the depression becomes unbearable again.
By treating the whole person, we make sure that people have the treatment, support, and knowledge they need to beat the cycle of addiction and manage chronic mental health conditions. Group therapy is also helpful. We teach people how to learn the reasons for their behaviors and identify their triggers. Also, we teach them how to change behaviors, cope with past trauma and avoid or deal with their triggers.
Partial Care Program
Our partial care program requires about 20 hours per week and includes a structured environment. Participants have access to educational materials, addiction counseling, and community support. Laboratory and psychiatry services are available.
Outpatient Program (OP)
In an outpatient program structure, participants have access to individual, family, or group therapy in an outpatient setting. This means that they do not stay in the facility and only visit for their appointments.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)
Treatment sessions in an intensive outpatient program last a few hours, between three and five times per week. The minimum amount of counseling and education time is nine hours per week. Like the outpatient program, participants live at home during treatment and visit the facility for appointments.
Medication-assisted treatment programs involve the use of other substances to support healthier recovery. It is a common approach for treating alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.
After professionals help participants remove the harmful substances from their bodies, they use alternative substances to treat withdrawal symptoms, control cravings, and prevent other unpleasant effects. Combined with behavioral health therapy, MAT services are highly effective for increasing survival rates, increasing the quality of life, and decreasing the risk of relapse.
Learn More About Prescription Drug Addiction And Treatment in New Jersey
If you or someone you know can benefit from prescription drug rehabilitation, we are here to help. Our specialized approach to treating the entire person assures those who entrust their care to us that they have the keys they need to stay in recovery.
Trying to detox and go through recovery alone is dangerous and lonely. Supervised detox allows you to start your journey more comfortably and safely. One key component of staying in recovery is having a supportive team of people helping you through every step.
At Kingsway Recovery, we work hard as a team to help each person find individualized solutions and regain control of life as they seek treatment. Our facility is a safe and peaceful place where people can come to share their struggles and find the support they deserve.
We proudly serve our community of Gloucester County and welcome people from nearby areas of the state. We accept most insurance plans as well. If you or someone you know would like more information about prescription drug rehabilitation services, please contact us.