Is Prescription Drug Addiction Amy Winehouse's New Problem?

Is Prescription Drug Addiction Amy Winehouse's New Problem?

When someone like talented British blues and pop singer Amy Winehouse wants to get off street drugs, you would expect them to do just that: get some help, and get off drugs. But the widespread approach today replaces the addictive street drug with one or more new drugs that are leading thousands of people into a whole new nightmare - prescription drug addiction.

Treatment with medication to replace a drug of addiction - such as addiction to heroin - is called 'replacement therapy', and the drug that is prescribed is called a 'replacement drug'. For heroin and similar opiates and opioids (synthetic opiates) like painkillers, the drug methadone is often the replacement drug.

The problem is that methadone is highly addictive, and especially when taken in higher doses can be even more difficult and dangerous to withdraw from than the heroin or painkillers. This leaves the addict with a prescription drug addiction that's potentially worse to deal with than the original addiction.

Amy Winehouse was rushed to hospital recently after suffering seizures, allegedly because of a bad reaction to a combination of medications she was prescribed to combat her drug and alcohol addictions. Amy reportedly suffered multiple fits in July after accidentally overdosing on the drugs. The actual drugs Amy is taking were not revealed.

Inside sources told the media that Winehouse went on a drink and drugs binge after an angry screaming match on the telephone with her junkie spouse Blake Fielder-Civil, who is currently in a drug rehabilitation clinic under the terms of an early release from prison.

"She went out and didn't stop until she was on the floor," one source revealed. "She has ended up in hospital a few times after similar drink and drugs related seizures. If she carries on, one of these incidents will be her last."

Amy's spokesperson insisted she was in hospital because of a bad reaction to the combination of replacement drugs she is taking.

"Amy has not been right for a while and things came to a head at the weekend," said another source. "After speaking to the hospital they decided it was best for her to come in. She is on a drug replacement program and has had bad reactions to her medication before. The doctors want to sort out why it's happening."

The obvious question to ask is why do doctors push replacement drug therapy, instead of getting the addict into therapy for the drug they're already addicted to? Why would Amy agree to replace her drug and alcohol addiction with other drugs? Why does anyone agree to add months or years of miserable prescription drug addiction to their lives, rather than seeking effective treatment to become drug free as soon as possible?

The answers to these questions are not easily found, but one aspect is a perceived failure in commonly used drug rehab programs to get people off drugs effectively and permanently, regardless of whether they're addicted to street drugs like heroin or cocaine, or suffering from a prescription drug addiction to painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin or Percocet.

Another aspect is the woeful lack of real medical training in addiction provided to doctors. They're subject to hearing what the 'experts' are saying, and for decades, many experts have been spokesman for drug companies. It is irrefutable fact that drug companies, who make and market replacement drugs, have been pushing replacement drug therapy for decades.

Switching from heroin addiction to prescription drug addiction has added months or years of unnecessary suffering to addicts' lives. But over those same years, legally and medically sanctioned prescription drug addiction has lined the pockets of pharmaceutical companies - and the medical profession and the replacement drug clinics - with billions of dollars.

The only logical approach to helping someone with an addiction is to withdraw from the addictive drug as quickly and safely as possible, right now, and get started on drug rehab.

When the house is uncontrollably on fire, sane people will tell you get out as fast as you can. You don't go hide in a closet, or start setting back-fires in the kitchen or the den hoping to ward off the main fire.

It makes infinitely more sense to get professional withdrawal help at a certified and experienced medical drug detox clinic, and to then recover one's life through effective drug rehab.


Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.

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