The controversy has focused attention on the nationwide problem of prescription drug abuse. The risk of addiction extends far beyond the rich and famous.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that millions of people in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs each year. The NIDA estimates that 48 million people have abused or misused prescription drugs in their lifetime.
Which drugs are most likely to be abused? The NIDA warns that three classes of drugs carry the greatest risk.
Opioids are commonly abused. These drugs are used to treat pain. Examples include morphine, codeine, OxyContin, Vicodin and Demerol.
Stimulants also may be abused. These drugs are used for problems such as narcolepsy. Examples include dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate.
Central nervous system depressants also are commonly abused. This class of drugs includes barbiturates such as Nembutal. It also includes benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax.
Some benzodiazepines are used to treat insomnia. Examples include Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, Prosom and Restoril.
But newer “nonbenzodiazepines” have a lower risk of addiction. Examples include Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata.
Another low-risk sleep aid is ramelteon. It is marketed as Rozerem. This drug is a melatonin receptor agonist. It targets the part of the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
The AASM offers these Guidelines for Taking Sleep Medications. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other questions about taking sleeping pills. You also should ask your doctor about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. It is a safe and effective treatment option.
The NIDA reports that drug addiction is a brain disease that can be treated effectively. Treatments include detoxification, counseling and drug therapy.
To get help call 1-800-662-HELP or go online to http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.
Learn more about prescription drug abuse on SleepEducation.com.