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Prescription Drug Addiction in North Dakota

As many as two million Americans struggle with prescription drug abuse, according to the National Institutes of Health, and no state is immune from this serious problem. Prescription drug addiction in North Dakota involves drugs classed as painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants. To cope with this problem, the state has instituted programs involving drug take-backs, but many people addicted to these medications need therapy that can be found at a drug treatment center. If you or someone close to you is battling a prescription drug problem, it is important to get help soon. You can manage your addiction and achieve long-term sobriety, but you need treatment that is tailored to your particular needs.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse

There is a wide array of medications that are extremely powerful and addictive. Doctors prescribe these drugs because they are beneficial at treating pain, inducing calm or sleep, or even stimulating the body’s various processes. Unfortunately, many of these helpful drugs are associated with high rates of addiction, because people seek them out for abuse or become addicted to them after chronic use. Using a prescription drug in a way that is not sanctioned by one’s own healthcare provider can be defined as prescription drug abuse. Certainly, taking someone else’s medication is a form of drug abuse as well. In many states across the country, prescription drug-related deaths surpass even illicit drug-related deaths. Prescription drugs are immensely powerful and people can form life-threatening addictions to them.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction in North Dakota

According to the state of North Dakota, “11% of all substance abuse evaluations referred to treatment in North Dakota involved prescription drug abuse.” While alcohol and marijuana rank one and two respectively for substances most abused in the state, prescription drugs rank third. The positive news for the state, however, is that North Dakota has the lowest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, according to the Trust for America’s Health. One of the reasons behind North Dakota’s reduced prescription drug abuse rates, is the success of the state’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program. The state collects tons of unused medications that might otherwise have wound up in the hands of prescription drug abuse sufferers.


Common Prescription Drugs of Abuse

In North Dakota, as in most other states, prescription painkillers are the most widely abused prescription medications. Oxycodone, and various other opiate-based painkillers, tops the list for commonly abused prescription drugs. While excellent for the management of pain, these drugs are highly addictive and extremely prone to abuse. Prolonged use of these drugs can lead to the development of a tolerance to a given dose, which can be the first step on the road to addiction, especially if the individual begins to increase their dose.

Other commonly abused prescription medications in North Dakota, include stimulants and sedatives. Ambien, Xanax, and Valium are extremely addictive, but they play important roles in the pharmaceutical realm and offer relief for patients suffering from severe insomnia or anxiety. Although doctors try to monitor their patients’ use of these powerful medications, they cannot always tell when abuse occurs.

What Prescription Drugs Are Most Frequently Abused?


OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone. This medication is a synthetic opiate that is prescribed to treat pain. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II narcotic due to its addictive qualities. Signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction include dizziness, mood shifts, paranoia, sweating, and even hallucinations. If withdrawal symptoms occur, sufferers should understand that addiction has set in. Other signs of oxycodone abuse and addiction include taking someone else’s prescription medication or doctor shopping in order to get more of this drug.


Ambien is a sedative that is usually prescribed to people who have sleep problems. Even in the short-term, Ambien is linked to a high rate of abuse and addiction. You should suspect addiction or Ambien abuse if you witness symptoms such as amnesia episodes, reduced appetite, and panic attacks. If withdrawal symptoms occur, a physical dependency on the drug is certain, and treatment should be obtained to combat the problem.


Adderall is frequently used to treat patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In recent years, this drug has become increasingly abused for its ability to speed up the body’s various processes. Individuals who abuse Adderall generally take it to stay awake or alert for long periods. Signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse and addiction include anxiety, headaches, changes in sex drive, and nausea.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction in North Dakota can be managed with comprehensive addiction treatment. North Dakota’s best addiction treatment centers address each aspect of substance addiction–its physical, mental, and behavioral dependencies. This type of treatment can help an individual overcome their addiction, so that they can lead a sober life, free from the dangerous side effects of these drugs. When entering treatment, individuals are assessed for their health and the nature of their addiction. After evaluation, addiction treatment center staff can recommend a customized treatment plan for each sufferer.

The first stage of treatment is usually medical detox. Sufferers should only undergo detox at an addiction treatment center, hospital, or rehab. During medical detox, sufferers are weaned from the addictive substance. Withdrawal symptoms will occur, but they can be substantially reduced in severity with other medications. It is unsafe to quit using powerful prescription drugs ‘cold turkey’ because withdrawal symptoms could become intense and possibly cause health complications. In a certified medical setting, healthcare providers are there to monitor each patient and to guard against any health complications.

After detox, patients typically undergo counseling to address the mental and behavioral aspects of their prescription drug addiction. Once intensive treatment is complete, aftercare programs, such as a 12-step program (i.e. NA) can be highly supportive for those embarking on long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one is suffering with prescription drug addiction in North Dakota, be sure to seek treatment. Treatment will help you safeguard your mental and physical health, which is at increased risk the longer you abuse these dangerous medications. Pick up the phone and speak to an addiction specialist when you are serious about your sobriety.