Prescription Drug Abuse
With public perception of drug abuse usually centred around illicit street drugs such as heroin and amphetamines, many people remain unaware that the drug crisis currently faced by ordinary Australians relate to the misuse of prescription drugs. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- opiates (eg. painkillers including morphine, codeine, oxycontin);
- benzodiazapenes (eg Valium, Xanax);
- stimulants (Ritalin, dexamphetamines); and
- tranquilisers (eg sleeping pills including Stilnox or Ambien, Rohypnol).
Common anti-depressants (eg. Zoloft, Effexor) and psychoactive prescription medication (eg. Zyprexa) can also be abused or in some cases, are difficult to cease using, as complicated withdrawal symptoms are likely to ensue. With addictions potentially developing in just under two weeks of regular use, ceasing long term use of prescription medication is beset with risks.
At The Sanctuary Byron Bay, we know that abuse of prescription drugs cuts across economic lines, age, social status and culture. Over years, we have noticed increasing prescription drug abuse amongst highly functioning people, unlikely to be identified as 'addicts', yet who would qualify as having substance use disorders.
Because prescription drugs are usually legally obtained, ongoing use is rarely questioned, yet for those needing help, continued use exacts a toll. Ongoing use diminishes quality of life – with side effects sometimes causing more problems than the symptoms the drugs were initially deployed to treat. Unfortunately, simply ceasing use of prescription drugs is ill-advised.
Withdrawals from prescription drugs can be prolonged, difficult to manage and sometimes so destabilising that people can feel as if they are suffering a serious crisis.
Detox from prescription drugs is necessarily a medical issue. Withdrawals must be stepped, monitored and supported by appropriate professional attention. At The Sanctuary Byron Bay, we are experienced in assessing prescription drug abuse and we are able to devise the most humane, effective and nurturing detox regime necessary to safely and comfortably reduce reliance upon prescription drugs.
As our focus is multi-disciplinary, many of the symptoms of withdrawal can be mitigated by less invasive therapeutic modalities such as shiatsu, acupuncture and yoga or with supplementation with natural herbs and minerals; with the withdrawal process constantly monitored by registered nurses and specialist medical personnel in accordance with best practice clinical detox guidelines.
We encourage anyone regularly using sedatives, tranquilisers and stimulants to review their continued use of such substances and to get support where required.
"...I had slipped into an addiction to painkillers without even realising that was the case until I tried to stop. The withdrawals were so awful that I'd always relapse into regular use again. The Sanctuary really helped me to understand I needed a highly managed detox with calming and restorative therapies to help ease my reliance on the painkillers. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done but I'm glad the help was there." 56 yo woman