Simply put if anyone is over using or abusing a prescription... it is the patient's fault and to a much lesser extent the doctor, but the doc isn't without blame.
There are plenty of doctors out there more than happy to write a prescription, even when it is painfully obvious the patient is an addict or doctor shopping. The patient need only tell the doctor what they want and how much. In a way, the doctor is in a tough spot. They know the addict will acquire the drugs, somewhere, somehow. Maybe it would be better to keep an eye on the patient, by writing small scripts and having them return often? I tend to look for the good in people and situations, almost to a fault. The truth is probably that they want the office visit fees.
Many people don't know that benzo withdrawal can kill you. Alcohol and benzos are the only two withdrawals you can die from. And valium and xanax are always at the top of most commonly prescribed drugs lists. While they can be extremely beneficial for patients suffering from panic attacks, they are prescribed way too often, for no acceptable reason, and for much too long. There is a scary misconception that they are harmless. Ah, it is just a little valium, no big deal.
I know this world a little better than I should. Or I should say I used to know this world. I have been more or less clean for 8 years after 20 years of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol addiction. Prescription pill abuse accompanied all of it. I was the doctor shopper extraordinaire and rarely ever got turned down, even with blatant bruises and track marks and obviously 30 pounds underweight. I am lucky to be alive and I am far away from that mess to realize it and be grateful for it.
I say more or less clean because I still attend a methadone program. I would love to be off of the crap. What I have seen at the various clinics I have attended over the last decade is sickening. The majority are for profit businesses. They are dosing young people with with large amounts of methadone everyday. I am sorry, but if you are only addicted to 20 mg of oxycontin a day and want to get off it, just suck it up and be sick for a week or two. That is much better than being chained to methadone for the rest of your life. They don't understand (and no one tells them) that the high dose of methadone is creating more, new opiate receptors in their brains that need to be satisfied. If this overload of receptors is not satisfied, you will way sicker than you were with a little 20 mg a day habit. These people are basically fucking themselves over. I realize age doesn't necessarily matter when dealing with addiction, but younger people seem prone to bragging about their war stories. I have unwillingly overheard a lot of them in the waiting room. The majority of these kids were just experimenting with heroin and other opiates and have absolutely no business attending a methadone clinic. There is little to no traditional therapy involved in treatment at many of these places.
And the clinics allow the patient to up their dose by 10 or 20 mg. a week if the patient feels they need it. Of course they think they need it. They are fucking addicts. Some view the clinics as a cheap way to get high. If you are getting high off your dose, something is wrong. Methadone maintenance is not supposed to work that way. But I have never seen any of the clinics toss someone out for it. They will definitely toss you out if you cannot pay for a couple days till you get your paycheck, but not if you are abusing the system and the medication. It makes me sad. The whole thing is very crooked, and business is growing exponentially.
More than half the clients are regular folks and not 'street junkies.' They are people who were in a car accident, skiing accident, or whatever, and got prescribed a huge amount of painkillers from their doctor and caught a habit. No one plans on becoming an opiate addict. Doctors rarely, if ever, warn their patients that it can happen so quickly and easily. It is a serious, scarily common problem.
The truth is pharmaceutical companies want as many people taking as many drugs as possible, as often as possible, for as long as possible. The doctors have a big financial incentive to prescribe lots of drugs, too. To lay the blame at the feet of the addict is like blaming someone for being schizophrenic. I do believe in some personal responsibility with addiction, but the deck is stacked against us. If you go to the doctor and say you want to get off heroin, many will prescribe Bupennorphine.(Or benzos combined with clonidine, a blood pressure drug, and seroquel.) It is simply illogical to get someone off one addictive drug with another addictive drug.
I agree many of the antidepressants and antipsychotics are necessary and great for the folks who need them. They can work miracles. I have seen that, too (long term addiction is often accompanied by the occasional trip to the funny farm). The problem is they are being prescribed to people who do not need truly them. The fact that you can get an antidepressant from your GP is indicative of this problem. Shit, I got klonopin from my gynecologist. Only mental health professionals should be able to prescribe these particular drugs and not until at least a few sessions have been completed. Once a person takes the drug and fucks with their brain chemistry, then they will need the drug, which is all the better for the doctors and big pharma.
Sorry if I got a bit ranty and long winded. This is a subject that bothers me a lot and I feel a lot of resentment for some of the doctors who enabled me to keep using when it was obvious I was in severe physical and mental distress.