Prescription drugs and their addictive power

Many prescription drugs have long-term addictive power. This was discovered by Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist from the United States. The doctor began to receive more and more patients, both in clinics and hospitals, who suffered from a chronic dependence on the drugs they were prescribed at some point in their lives. That is, the drug ended up causing more damage than the disease.

Prescription drugs

Many doctors are unaware of which medications are addictive.

What Lembke discovered is only a small portion of the “iceberg,” since the problem is much larger. The United States currently has an epidemic with prescription drugs that directly affects youth.

So much so, that in 2022 drug overdoses reached 100 thousand cases. The main culprit is fentanyl, which is acquired illegally. The biggest problem is that it is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

The doctor wrote two books based on her research, interviews with healthcare colleagues, and reports collected from patients and family members. One of them was translated into Spanish, and its title is “Dopamine Generation”. Additionally, Lembke directs the Stanford Dual Pathology Addiction Medicine Clinic.

Prescription drugs are more addictive than over-the-counter drugs

According to their statements, the current health system should be completely reviewed. There is an increasing availability of medications and there is no monitoring of their uses. Additionally, there is little understanding of what addiction means and education about the problems it entails.

medical system

He also warns that there are hidden parts that are not talked about and refers to the fact that the prescriptions are motivated by industry and not by science. Doctors sometimes receive incentives if they frequently prescribe this or that medication.

In the United States, access to uncontrolled drugs is over the counter, that is, easily accessible. Although they are controlled medications, they are the ones that represent the greatest danger, since they cause addictions.

The problem arises, says Lembke, when an uncontrolled medication becomes addictive and is reclassified. This is what happens, for example, with Tramadol, which was approved in 1995 as free sale and reclassified in 2014 as controlled.

In just a few years, from 2009 to 2015, the prescription of opioid drugs increased by 465%, and the opioid drug industry increased at the same rate. They are medications with powerful analgesic powers, but in the long term they generate addiction.

The largest increase in prescriptions includes codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone. However, the doctor believes that the prescription of these controlled medications should not be stigmatized. If she puts greater emphasis on the functioning of the system, where a medication prescribed for a particular ailment ends up becoming a bigger problem.

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