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July 17, 2020 – To the surprise of many, prescription drug addiction is spiking during this period alongside the use of illegal drugs and alcohol. Looking beyond common misconceptions around drug addiction reveals why.

A harmful taboo

In its own way, addiction to illegal drugs or alcohol comes with a level of understanding from others. We grow up knowing that drugs and alcohol can be addictive and we’ve seen portrayals of addicted adults in the UK. Whether someone drinking to the point of alcoholism or a person consuming party drugs excessively on nights out, there is a picture in our minds that we associate substance abuse with.

For most, there is no such picture to associate prescription drug abuse with. It is, for most, a more shameful and secretive struggle. Many adults who fall into dependency of their prescribed substances are ‘normal’ working adults who have never consumed drugs recreationally. In reality, the already dangerous path to abuse of a prescribed substance is made more likely during the unique confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Distance and addiction go hand in hand

With adults turning to any kind of substance as a way to manage the uncertainty and stress of life during COVID-19, it’s easy to see how prescription drugs can be abused too. Whether through outpacing a prescription for opioid painkillers or through extending a prescription for antidepressants or benzodiazepines longer than is needed, adults are falling into the trap.

A key reason for this is the fact that isolation enables addiction. It gives it free rein to flourish, with fewer social connections and friends getting in the way to check a person’s behaviour before it worsens. The need for us to socially distance during this pandemic is the worst thing that could happen for someone liable to fall into addiction or further down the spiral.



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