JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sounds crazy, but a national expert on prescription drug addiction says those pain pills can take your brain on quite the joy ride. In fact, they're more pleasurable than sex.
Who is saying this? Dr. John Tanner in Jacksonville is board certified in addiction medicine and has been treating addicts for 29 years and is on the national Board of Directors for the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
It's easy to chuckle about, but the serious side is the power of prescription painkillers. According to the Justice Department, prescription drug abuse leads to 40,000 deaths a year.
Some medications are tremendously helpful and many patients never deal with addiction.
But for others, a few pills turn into a beast in a bottle.
Dr. Tanner said it's like getting "hijacked."
"It's almost like somebody takes a gun and tells you to get out of the car and they take the car and run with it," he said.
He demonstrates with a model of a brain. He focuses on the limbic area, the reward center, the place for emotions and pleasure.
He said another of area of your brain, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is the thinking part. It tells you, "Yes, you're making a good decision or, 'No! Stop!' You are making a bad decision."
Dr. Tanner says the pills hijack that process.
"Literally this part of the limbic brain," he explains, can "recruit" the thinking part to make treacherous decisions.
"The limbic area ... is rewarded 5 to 10 times more powerfully by many drugs of addiction than we get rewarded from food, sex and social action with friends," Dr. Tanner said.
If you are worried about prescription pill addiction, here are some resources which may help:
INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS
Breakthroughs Counseling & Recovery Inc. (904) 739-2152
3810 Williamsburg Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL
Greenfield Center (904) 389-37843
Shircliff Way, Jacksonville, FL
Awakening Recovery Center (904) 733-7383
Jacksonville Metro Treatment (904) 398-7015
3609 Emerson St, Jacksonville, FL
INPATIENT AND OTHER LEVELS OF TREATMENT
Lakeview (904) 642-9349
8889 Corporate Square Ct, Jacksonville, FL
Stepping Stones Treatment Center (904) 446-1041
1815 Corporate Square Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216
Wekiva Springs Center (904) 296-3533
3947 Salisbury Rd, Jacksonville, FL
PUBLICLY ASSISTED TREATMENT PROGRAMS
River Region Human Services (904) 899-6300
390 Park St, Jacksonville, FL
Gateway Community Services Inc. (904) 387-4661
555 Stockton St, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Gateway Community Services Inc. (904) 739-1922
1754 University Blvd W, Jacksonville, FL
YOUNG ADULT TREATMENT OPTION
Teen Challenge (904) 647-6358
3333 Phillips Hwy, Jacksonville, FL
12-STEP SUPPORT GROUPS
Narcotics Anonymous (904) 358-6262
Alcoholics Anonymous Northeast Florida Intergroup Services
SUPPORT GROUPS FOR LOVED ONES
Al-Anon (904) 350-0600
Jacksonville, FL 32202
First Coast News