It’s always shocking to hear the tragic tale of a celebrity who succumbs to an overdose. There has been a steady stream of the highly focused individuals that we so easily became attached to at one time or another. Icons such as Whitney Houston, Anna Nicole Smith, Health Ledger and Corey Monteith all shared their unique talents with the world for so many years, each in their own way. And yet, despite their age, talent, publicity, wealth, looks and their audience, they all share one thing in common: a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol.
Sadly, the problem of alcohol and drug abuse isn’t happening only in Hollywood. According to VOA (Voice of America), the number of unintentional drug overdoses has surpassed accidental deaths due to car crashes in many states. And, in a large number of these cases, alcohol is a factor.
The Slippery Slope Of Prescription Drug Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to five percent of individuals who take prescription painkillers will become addicted to them (unfortunately, this number is growing). Many of these individuals have a past history of addiction in the form of smoking, drinking or other drugs.
It’s not uncommon to begin using a prescription painkiller following an injury or a surgery and then to become addicted to it. When alcohol is mixed with these medications, the risk of overdose is high. In a 2008 study from Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, it was found that 60 percent of people who regularly take prescription drugs known to interact with alcohol, also drink. Five percent of them have a shocking three or more drinks when they do.
While there are risks with mixing many prescription drugs and alcohol, one of the most dangerous combinations is with opioid painkillers. This is because both alcohol and the medications slow breathing and inhibit the coughing reflex. Sadly, in many overdose cases, individuals simply stop breathing.
Addiction Under The Radar
Unlike with illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana or heroin, prescription drug addiction is often overlooked or dismissed, sometimes even by healthcare providers. Painkillers are relatively easy to obtain, and many people struggle with addiction to them for years. Rarely do prescription drug abusers seek help right away, and loved ones are often reluctant to intervene. It’s this problem that has led to celebrities succumbing to addiction, as well as to individuals from all walks of life.
Where To Turn For Help
The dangers of alcohol and prescription medication are too great to turn a blind eye to the problem. Whether you’re the one struggling from addiction or it’s a loved one, don’t continue to put off getting help. It’s the essential first step in ensuring that overdose never happens. Individualized drug and alcohol detox treatment is often the best option to overcome the challenges of addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol.