Continuing Education Provider Professional Development Resources Announces New Course on Prescription Drug Abuse

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Professional Development Resources, a nationally accredited provider of continuing education (CE) to psychologists, social workers, counselors, speech-language pathologists, registered dietitians and occupational therapists, has released a new online CE course on prescription drug abuse.

Prescription Drug Abuse

For some prescription drug addicts, medication was originally taken as prescribed – until they started developing a tolerance for it. For others, members of their peer group began to abuse prescription drugs because they are accessible and inexpensive.

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Professional Development Resources has announced a new addition to its online continuing education (CE) curriculum for mental health professionals: Prescription Drug Abuse. The course is designed to provide health and mental health professionals with the information and techniques needed to understand and treat individuals who abuse pharmaceuticals like OxyContin®, Adderall®, and Xanax®.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there have been recent reductions in non-medical prescription drug use among young adults, but it is still a widespread problem. While the number of people aged 18 to 25 who say they used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined from 2.0 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011, non-medical use of prescription drugs among children aged 12 to 17 and adults aged 26 or older remained unchanged.

The definition of prescription drug abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is “taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed.”

Stephanie Sarkis, PhD, author of the new course, states, “Pharmaceuticals like OxyContin®, Adderall®, and Xanax® are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. For some prescription drug addicts, medication was originally taken as prescribed – until they started developing a tolerance for it. For others, members of their peer group began to abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive on the street.”

Dr. Sarkis adds, “When medication is used as prescribed, it can be of great benefit to patients, helping reduce pain, save lives, and improve one’s overall quality of life. Medications like pain relievers help people with chronic pain obtain relief and live productive lives; stimulant medications can help people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus and work to their potential; benzodiazepines can help people get much-needed rest during a time of great anxiety, such as after the death of a loved one. However, when individuals misuse their prescribed medications or take medications not prescribed to them, the consequences can be disastrous.”

What are the costs of prescription drug abuse? According to a 2012 CNN Money report by James O’Toole (February 24, 2012):

  •     The cost of prescription painkiller abuse has been estimated at more than $70 billion a year.
  •     Addicts who go from doctor to doctor (known as “doctor shopping”) to get prescriptions cost insurers $10,000 to $15,000 per addict.
  •     Prescription drug abuse costs the criminal justice system $8.2 billion a year.

Those costs result in more expenses for non-addicts, since many of the side effects of prescription drug abuse are passed on to you, the non-abusing consumer. For example, if you have a cold and want to buy Sudafed, many states require you to present your driver’s license and sign for it at the pharmacy counter. If you or your child have run out of stimulant medication, you have to pick up the prescription yourself (or have it mailed to you), as the doctor cannot call it in to the pharmacy. Also, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) limits the amount of stimulant medication allotted to pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, this led to a shortage of stimulant medication. And, due to the costs of prescription drug abuse listed here, we all wind up paying higher insurance premiums and higher taxes.

With the publication of this new course, Professional Development Resources hopes to increase professionals’ knowledge and skills in detecting and treating individuals who have fallen prey to prescription drug abuse.

About Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making continuing education courses more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.

Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.

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