Like in many other states, Alaska has also witnessed an increase in the rates of prescription drug abuse. Today, research studies show that this category of drugs comes in the 3rd place after alcohol and marijuana as the most commonly abused substances in the states.
Although some people in the state believe that prescription drugs are not dangerous, the truth is that a few of these medications can lead to the development of a substance use disorder. This is particularly true if you do not use them in the way in which they are supposed to be used.
This would also happen if you take them in any manner that is inconsistent with the prescription that your doctor wrote or the labeling on the medication. You could also become addicted if you used them without a valid prescription.
Even when you have a legal prescription, it is possible to become addicted to prescription drugs if you take a higher dose of these medications, or use them more frequently than you are supposed to.
Seeing as how Alaska is one of the largest American states, it comes as no surprise that the prescription drug abuse and addiction crisis affecting the United States has not left it unscathed.
But what does prescription drug abuse in Alaska entail? Effectively, it involves using these drugs without a prescription or simply because of the feelings, effects, and experiences that they cause.
Taking the drugs non-medically could also amount to abuse. This means that you would be using them for any purpose other than that for which the drugs were designed to be used.
Some statistics relating to the rates of prescription drug use in Alaska include:
The rates of prescription drug abuse in Alaska have primarily been driven up by opioid drugs. this increase has been clearly seen in the rising numbers of overdose deaths involving this class of medications.
In 2017, for instance, the state lost 102 lives to a drug overdose involving opioids. this was at a rate of close to 14 deaths for every segment of 100,000 people within the expansive state of Alaska.
Even so, the state has not been reporting all the deaths linked to synthetic opioids apart from methadone - involving drugs such as fentanyl. However, this class of drugs led to 37 fatalities in Alaska in 2017. The same year, prescription opioids were responsible for 51 deaths.
Another report from the CDC - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - showed that 52 opioid prescriptions were written for every segment of 100 people in Alaska in 2017 alone. This was slightly lower than the national rate of 58.7 prescriptions written for every segment of 100 people.
One of the primary reasons why prescription drug abuse is dangerous is because it often leads to the contracting and development of other conditions, such as HIV and hepatitis C.
In 2016, 37 of all the new cases of HIV reported in the United States happened in Alaska. 10.3 percent of these cases among males were linked to intravenous drug use involving substances such as prescription medications as well as contact between males.
The previous year, it was estimated that 657 people were living with diagnosed HIV in the state. Of this number, 21.2 percent of the males had contracted the condition due to intravenous drug use involving drugs like prescription medications and male to male contact. 16 percent of the female patients, on the other hand, had contracted HIV in the same way.
The annual averages between 2013 and 2016 for people with hepatitis C in Alaska were estimated to be at 5300. This was at a rate of 970 people among every segment of 100,000 residents.
Figures relating to the number of people who were enrolled in an addiction treatment program in Alaska between 1991 and 2011 showed that other opiates and prescriptions drugs were responsible for the 2nd largest number of such admissions. They came in close to marijuana. This was according to reports from SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
According to TEDS - the Treatment Episode Data Set - on the other hand, it is recommended that the state reduce the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. it can do this by supporting prescription drug monitoring across the state as well as by recommending more secure and convenient ways to dispose of unneeded, unused, and expired prescription medications from homes in Alaska.
That said, Alaska has also been improving its efforts to educate healthcare providers and patients alike on the various dangers of abusing prescription medications - even if these drugs are issued by doctors in medical settings.
Apart from these efforts, there are several addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs in place across the state. These programs include both inpatient and outpatient drug rehabs, and they offer various services that can help you overcome your substance use disorder involving prescription medications.
If you are addicted to any of these drugs, it is recommended that you check into one of these rehab centers so that you can receive the recovery services that are going to aid you in your journey to full sobriety and abstinence.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
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