How to Help a Loved One Overcome Addiction to Prescription Painkillers

Identity Magazine for Mompreneurs
Written by TeamIdentity

Research substance abuse and treatment. The Internet is filled with a wealth of information, but keep in mind only what is written by credentialed experts or trusted organizations should be accepted as credible.

It’s unfortunate for any of us to have to experience addiction. It may be you that needs help or it may be a loved one.   Either way, once the problem is acknowledge, we must accept the responsibility to bring ourselves to a better healing space, or to help our loved one’s heal and get to a better place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that three out of four prescription drug overdoses occur with prescription painkillers. This growing epidemic is marked by a 300 percent increase in the sale of these potent painkillers since 1999. Prescription opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana and methodone are now responsible for more fatal overdoses in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined.

An addiction to prescription painkillers can strike anyone. An undercover narcotics officer in Norfolk, Va., told that it’s also sparking a new wave of criminals, with everyone from business executives to gray-haired grandmothers caught forging prescriptions to feed their addiction to these opiates. If the addict is a loved one, there’s help and hope ahead.

Seek Support

Research substance abuse and treatment. The Internet is filled with a wealth of information, but keep in mind only what is written by credentialed experts or trusted organizations should be accepted as credible. This is a difficult time for the addicted person and his or her entire family, who suffer right along with the addict. Seek support from family members outside your immediate home and close friends. Professional support groups are available in most communities, as are 12-step groups such as Nar-Anon, which is designed to help the families of people with addictions.


Intervene Quickly

It used to be assumed an addict had to “hit bottom” and experience severe consequences in order to overcome an addiction. Yes, addicts must be motivated to get the help they need, and an intervention is one way to provide that motivation. Addiction is a disease, and often the whole family suffers. Family members can play a powerful role in persuading substance abusers to seek treatment.

Planning an Intervention

Planning and staging an intervention may feel like an overwhelming challenge. According to Best Drug Rehabilitation, participants should be loving, respectful and nonjudgmental; your loved one isn’t being merely selfish or weak. He or she is suffering from a disease that disguises who they truly are.

Allow professionals who have been through similar situations to help you manage and organize the intervention. This will take at least part of the stress off of a spouse and others who are already going through a difficult time.

What to Say

In order to be successful, choose the right words at the right time. Someone who realizes they have just walked into an intervention is likely to be on-guard and very defensive. Begin with loving words that show the person he or she is valuable, important and respected. This can allow the person to truly understand the need for help.

While it’s essential for each member to express concerns and feelings about the addict’s behavior and other issues, remember that using words of love and support is much more likely to reach the person. Promise to attend meetings with the addict and listen when he or she needs to talk. Be ready to follow through with that promise by providing moral and emotional support through each state of the treatment process, if the addict decides to enter treatment.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women and helping them get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and of course you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?

That no matter how hard I try, I cannot help everyone. I only have enough hours in the day to do what I can.

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?

I appreciate my determination for reaching my goals and having been blessed with many great opportunities in life.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?

My most rewarding achievement was obtaining my masters degree, no matter how long it took! My goal is to open my own family counseling practice.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?

 I can be a bit scatter-brained at times and easily lose patience, but accept the way I am 🙂

How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my ability to communicate and help others on a daily basis.

Holly Farris has a master’s degree in family counseling and a small practice on the East Coast. She likes to write home and garden pieces for a variety of blogs.

About the author

Identity Magazine for Mompreneurs


Our mission is to empower women to "Get All A’s in their Game of Life" by discovering their powers and transforming through Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement—through all of our content and collaborations.

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