The abuse of prescription drug medications is a problem across the nation and in the Panhandle region. Walt, the most commonly abused drugs are pain killers like OxyContin, Methadone and Vicodin.
Stimulants like Ritalin are also commonly abused drugs especially for young people.
Local drug specialists say some addictions can start innocently by taking prescription medications for a chronic illness, and that is why an addiction may be hard to recognize.
Going from one doctor to another, asking family members for medication, and keeping medication use a secret are some of the signs of a prescription drug addiction.
Elva Garza of the Amarillo Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse says,"Because they do build up a tolerance they are taking more and more and more you know I've had clients coming who have taken 30 per day 30 pain medications per day."
Unlike abuse of other drugs, a pain specialist says medication abuse does not always have physical symptoms.
Dr. Dennis Ice says, "It's an attempt to obtain medication despite negative reinforcement. Say someone's having trouble at their job because they are taking drugs, they are having troubles with their family because they are abusing drugs, they can't function in society, they get in trouble with the police. When these things happen and they continue to seek the drugs that is the sign of an addiction, it's a psychological phenomenon more so than a physical. "
Dr. Ice says its important to get treatment before the addiction spirals out of control.
"And sometimes in looking for a high or if they are trying to medicate against depression and they are taking too much of it and that can certainly cause problems...it can cause death. "
Amarillo Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse
803 S Rusk St
Amarillo, TX 79106