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Prescription Drug Addiction in Wyoming

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem across America, with specialized treatment programs often needed to break the bonds of addiction. The vast majority of prescription drug abuse involves just three classes of drugs: opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, sedatives such as Xanax and Klonopin, and stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. Prescription drug addiction in Wyoming is a serious problem that needs to be addressed through a combination of education campaigns and drug treatment programs. If you or anyone you know is living with prescription drug addiction in Wyoming, it’s important to find specialized help as soon as you can.


Prescription Drug Categories

Most prescription drug abuse concerns just three classes of drugs. Opiates are the most widely abused type of prescription medication, with these drugs taken medically to treat a number of chronic and acute pain conditions and abused for their euphoric qualities. Sedatives are the second most widely abused class of prescription drugs, with these drugs taken to treat anxiety and sleep disorders and abused for their sedative and hypnotic properties. Stimulants are the third most widely abused class of prescription drugs, with these drugs taken medically for ADHD and abused for their recreational and performance enhancement properties. Opiates and sedatives are both associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, with stimulants associated with an emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome.


Methods of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription medications are increasingly being used for non-medical reasons across the United States. There are many ways to misuse and over use prescription drugs, with methods of abuse often dependent on the particular substance in question. Generally speaking, prescription drugs are abused whenever they are taken in a different way than intended by a medical professional. Common methods of abuse include: increased dose frequency, increased dose amount, alternative method of administration, combining drugs, using medications or scripts intended for someone else, buying drugs or scripts on the black market, and visiting multiple doctors to obtain multiple scrips. While some people develop abuse and dependence problems slowly as a result of long-term psychiatric use, others abuse drugs on purpose for their recreational or performance enhancement qualities. Opiates are generally taken for their euphoric qualities, with sedatives taken for their sedative and hypnotic qualities and stimulants taken for their stimulating and energizing effects.


Prescription Drug Statistics in Wyoming

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a growing problem across the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Americans consume more than 75 percent of the global supply of prescription medications, despite accounting for just 5 percent of the world’s population. 52 million Americans have reported using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point during their life, with over half of this number related to opiate drugs such as morphine and oxycodone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of drug-induced deaths in Wyoming is slightly larger than the national average, at 13 deaths per 100,000 population compared to 12.7 deaths per 100,000 population. The vast majority of drug-induced fatalities are due to prescription opiates, with the illegal opiate heroin also influencing figures. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, annual deaths from prescription drugs increased from just 5 in 2003-04 to 116 in 2013-14. Despite this incredibly worrying statistic, a lack of treatment facilities has been noted across the state.



Opioid painkillers are the most commonly abused class of prescription medications in the United States. Taken medically to treat acute pain and certain chronic pain conditions, opioids are also widely abused for their euphoric properties. Opiate drugs include the natural opium alkaloids codeine and morphine and the semi-synthetic drugs oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and methadone. While most opiates are sourced legitimately through the medical system, these drugs are sometimes available on the black market as an alternative to heroin. Opiates are highly addictive and known to create tolerance and dependence over time, with both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms likely upon cessation of use.

Extensive detox and rehab treatment is often required before patients will overcome their addiction, including pharmacotherapy and psychotherapeutic support.


Sedatives, also known as tranquilizers or central nervous system (CNS) depressants, are the second most widely abused class of prescription drugs. Benzodiazepines are the biggest class of sedatives, with common examples including Valium, Xanax, Librium, and Serax. These drugs are taken medically to treat anxiety and sleep disorders and abused recreationally to induce feelings of sedation and relaxation. While benzodiazepines are thought to be safe when used on a short-term basis, long-term exposure to these drugs can lead to tolerance and physical dependency over time. Barbiturates are also classed as CNS depressants or tranquilizers, with these drugs rarely prescribed in the 21st century but still taken for recreational reasons. Sedatives are known to produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use, with a combination of detox and behavioral therapy needed to break the bonds of addiction.



Stimulants include prescription amphetamine medications such as Adderall and Benzedrine and methylphenidate medications such as Concerta and Ritalin. These drugs are taken medically to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with these substances also widely abused to increase energy, enhance mood, and increase mental and physical performance. The long-term abuse of stimulants can lead to a number of physical and psychological health problems, including heart problems, drug-induced psychosis, anger, and profound paranoia. While stimulants are not physically addictive, severe psychological withdrawal symptoms can include drug cravings, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Most treatment programs for stimulant abuse focus on behavior and motivational therapies, with relapse prevention and aftercare programs also initiated.

Don’t let prescription drug addiction take over your life. Contact an addiction specialist today to learn which course of treatment is right for you.