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Prescription Drug Addiction in Montana


Prescription medications are often abused by people who take them for the purposes of recreation and performance enhancement. Patients with existing psychiatric prescriptions may also abuse their medications by taking larger doses than prescribed or combining medications in a dangerous fashion. Commonly abuse prescription drugs include the opioids morphine and OxyContin, the sedatives Valium and Xanax, and the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. Prescription drug addiction in Montana is a major problem, with specialized detox and rehab treatment often needed to help people break the bonds of addiction. If you know anyone who is living with prescription drug addiction in Montana, it’s important to find professional help as soon as possible.

How Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Generally speaking, prescription medications are abused whenever someone takes them in a different way than intended by a medical professional. People do this in a variety of different ways depending on their intentions, with some drug users abusing medications for recreational reasons and others abusing them as a performance enhancement tool. Typical methods of prescription drug abuse include combining medications, increasing dosage levels, administering drugs in a different way, and taking drugs prescribed for someone else. Most people who abuse medications obtain them through the medical system, with the practice of “doctor shopping” commonly used to help people obtain more drugs than otherwise possible. People may also receive medications from friends, family members, or drug dealers on the black market.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The signs of drug abuse are greatly dependent on the substance in question. For example, while some prescription medications depress the central nervous system, others stimulate it. This can lead to unexplained sedation or energy respectively, with other symptoms also developing dependent on the drug in question. If you’re worried about a friend, family member, or coworker, however, there are some general signs you can watch out for. Prescription drug abuse can be recognized by the existence of mood swings, depression, anxiety, multiple trips to the doctor, unexplained sedation, unexplained energy, withdrawal symptoms, and a loss of interest in favorite recreational activities. While all of these symptoms are unlikely to be present at the same time, it’s often possible to read between the lines to work out what’s going on.

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics in Montana

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a major issue across the United States, and Montana is certainly no exception. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 52 million adult Americans have misused or over used prescription medications at some point in their life. This includes 8.76 million during the past year and 6.11 million during the past month. Opioids are the most widely abused medications, accounting for 5.1 million abuse cases per year. Sedatives are the second most widely abused, accounting for 2.2 million, with stimulants accounting for 1.1 million cases.

According to the Office of Consumer Protection in Montana, prescription drug overdoses were responsible for at least 369 deaths and over 7200 hospital admissions and emergency department encounters between 2011 and 2013. More than 5 percent of Montana teenagers aged between 12 and 17 reported using a prescription opioid for a non-medical reason during the past year, with education needed at a young age to stop this epidemic before it gets even more out of hand.


Opioids are the most widely abused prescription medications in the United States. Opioids are taken medically as painkillers and abused for their euphoric properties on a regular basis. Commonly abused opioids include morphine, codeine, OxyContin, Vicodin, and hydromorphone. While some of these drugs are single-ingredient medications, others are combined with acetaminophen or other substances. This can lead to additional complications, with people known to overdose on acetaminophen after taking more than the recommended amount. Treatment for opioid dependence often includes both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy measures, including opioid replacement therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and family therapy.


Sedatives are the second most widely abused class of prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin. These medications are most often prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders, although they can also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Benzos are associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, with a medical detox period generally recommended prior to rehabilitation. People who abuse benzos sometimes take them together with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as opioids or alcohol, with this highly dangerous practice often leading to overdose and sometimes even death.


Stimulants are often abused by people who want to obtain more energy or increase their mental focus. Commonly abused stimulants include the ADHD medications Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin. Unlike opioids or sedatives, stimulants may be taken as a performance enhancement tool by people who want to study or work for long periods of time. These drugs may also be sold as an alternative to methamphetamine and other illicit amphetamine drugs on the black market. Unlike CNS depressants, stimulants are not physically addictive and do not produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon drug discontinuation. Medications are largely ineffective during treatment, with rehabilitation measures typically based on behavioral therapy and counseling support.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse, also known as recidivism, is an extremely common outcome of drug addiction. Dedicated relapse prevention techniques and systems are required to stop people from returning to compulsive behavior patterns after rehab. During a typical relapse prevention program, therapists will use mindfulness tools and motivational strategies to help recovering addicts recognize triggers, avoid high-risk lifestyle situations, and develop the coping mechanisms needed for long-term recovery.

Addiction specialists can help you turn your life around. Call one today to learn more about different treatment options.