Prescription drug abuse happens when you misuse the prescribed medications you were given. This happens when you start to self-medicate or use them for other reasons than what they were prescribed for. Legal prescription drugs are controlled substances, yet many of these drugs are purchased illegally to fuel an addiction. Americans over the age of 65 are at risk of developing a prescription drug addiction. Older adults are taking more medication than most other age groups. And for this reason, they are more at risk of becoming dependent on some of these drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, three out of ten Americans between 57 and 85 take at least five different prescriptions. When you grow older, your body cannot process or metabolize these drugs as fast. This simply means that the chemicals from these drugs remain the body longer, which creates a dependency faster.
The most common prescription drugs abused by the elderly include opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or hydromorphone. There are also benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax, or Klonopin. Both categories of drugs have a high addictive potential and should never be misused or abused in any way. If you start to notice things such as them getting a prescription from more than one doctor, or filling the same script more than once. These are strong indicators there is an addiction, you should intervene. Despite the number of medications, they may be taking, if you notice they are taking different drugs infrequently, you should be concerned. Prescription drug abuse is an on-going problem among senior adults. However, there are drug rehab centers equipped to treat these addictions to help them overcome the underlying problems.