Prescription Drug Addiction
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Press Room

Members of the media may contact Rod Colvin through his publisher, Addicus Books, at 402-330-7493 or at:

The Press Kit can be downloaded below in PDF format or found in its entirety on this page.



Press Kit


Rod Colvin and Overcoming Perscription Drug Addiction have been featured in...


Prescription Drug Addiction Press Kit
PDF, 160K

News Release

Prescription Drug Overdose Becomes
the Leading Cause of Accidental Death

Addiction Shreds the Emotional Fabric of Families

Prescription drug addiction is a gathering storm. It’s one of the nation’s most serious drug problems.
--Rod Colvin

Prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Approximately 26,000 Americans are dying from prescription drug overdoses annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 120,000 Americans go to hospital emergency rooms after overdosing on painkillers. "Addiction to prescription drugs is now one of the nation's most serious drug problems," according to Rod Colvin, author of Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction.

"Millions of Americans from every demographic group have fallen into the addiction trap, and it is shredding the emotional fabric of families across the nation. Not only are families losing loved ones, but addiction takes an emotional toll on the entire family—no one escapes the pain and chaos when a loved one is destroying himself or herself with prescription drugs." Further, this epidemic costs millions of dollars in health care, traffic accidents, joblessness, and absenteeism.

Colvin’s passion for writing the book was fueled by the death of his 35-year-old brother, who died as a result of his long-term addiction to prescription painkillers. "I’ve experienced firsthand what addiction does to individuals and their families," Colvin said. "Unfortunately the problem has escalated over the last decade." Prescription drug abuse now outranks the use of all illegal drugs combined, coming in second only to marijuana use.

What are the messages of Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction? In this clearly written, thoroughly researched guide, Colvin provides a comprehensive resource for addicts, their families and friends, and health-care professionals wanting to better understand and cope with a problem that has been too long ignored. Among the topics he discusses:

  • the nature of addiction as a chronic, progressive disease

  • drugs of addiction and how they hijack the brain

  • the most commonly abused prescription drugs

  • steps to take if you or a loved one has become hooked on drugs

  • the effects shame and embarrassment can have on your desire to get help

  • treatment options, including medical detox and family interventions

Colvin also offers compelling stories of recovery from former addicts as well as insights from addiction medicine specialists. He examines how powerful narcotics can be acquired relatively easily through "doctor shopping," "pharmacy shopping," and buying drugs from rogue Internet pharmacies. He also investigates steps taken by law enforcement agencies and state governments to curb the diversion of prescription drugs.

Colvin also maintains a companion web site for his book at

  About the Author

Rod Colvin's 35-year-old brother, Randy, died as a result of his long term addiction to prescription drugs. The loss of his brother became a defining moment in his life. The event was the motivating force behind is decision to write Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction, a comprehensive resource with information, advise, and inspiration for prescription drug addicts and those who love them.

Colvin has spoken on the subject of prescription drug abuse to civic and professional groups across the nation. He has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC; has appeared on numerous other radio and television programs; and has been interviewed for articles in Redbook and Family Circle magazines and newspapers across the country.

From 2003 to 2005, Colvin served on an advisory commission to the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University , New York, which conducted a landmark study on prescription drug addiction. The report, Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Prescription Drugs in the United States, is available at

Colvin is also the founder and publisher of Addicus Books, an independent publishing house based in Omaha, Nebraska, whose focus is consumer health books. He has written two previous nonfiction books, Evil Harvest (Bantam Books, 1992), the true story of a white supremacist murder in America ’s heartland, and First Heroes (Irvington Publishers, 1987), an investigation into the fate of POWs possibly left behind in Vietnam. He is a former broadcast journalist and a producer of radio and television documentaries.

Colvin holds a bachelor of arts degree from Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas, and a master of science degree in counseling psychology from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.


Facts about Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death in the U.S. (Traffic accidents are first.) In the 45-54 age group, drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of death. (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.)

  • In 2005, 33,000 Americans died from prescription drug fatal poisoning. That figure represents a 60% increase over 1999, when 20,000 deaths were reported. (Centers for Disease Control.)

  • 17 million Americans, ages 12 and up, report having used prescription drugs—painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, or stimulants—for non medical purposes during the past year. ( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

  • More people abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, and inhalants combined. Prescription drug abuse is outranked only by marijuana use. ( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

  • Drug-related emergency room visits involving prescription opioids (painkillers) rose 153 percent from 1995 to 2002. ( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

  • The number of opioid prescriptions escalated from nearly 40 million in 1991 to 180 million in 2007. That’s an increase of 350 percent when the population increased by only 19 percent. (National Institute on Drug Abuse.)
  • Illicit trade in prescription narcotics, including fraudulent insurance claims for bogus prescriptions, treatment for fake injuries and other deceptive practices to obtain drugs, drain health insurers of up to $72.5 billion annually, including up to $24.9 billion for private insurers. (Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.)
  • Statistics on teen drug abuse are alarming:
    ---One in five teens (19 percent) have used prescription drugs to get high.
    ---One in four teens report having a friend who uses pills to get high.
    ---One in three teens report being offered pills for recreational use.
    ---Every day, 2,700 teens try a prescription drug for the first time to get high
    (Partnership for a Drug-Free America)

Prescription Addiction Helpline


Most Abused Prescription Drugs in America

1. Alprazolam (Xanax)

2. Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab)

3. Unspecified benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin)

4. Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox)

5. Methadone

6. Clonazepam (Klonopin)

7. Propoxyphene (Darvocet-N, Darvon)

8. Amphetamine (Dexedrine)

9. Lorazepam (Ativan)

10. Carisoprodol (Soma)

11. Diazepam (Valium)

12. Methamphetamine (Desoxyn, speed)

13. Trazodone (Desyrel)

Source: From Drug Abuse Warning Network Emergency Room Data. Based on drugs mentioned during emergency room visits in 2005


Suggested Interview Questions

  1. Your own brother died as a result of long-time prescription drug addiction. Was his addiction something you and your family had dealt with openly for some time?
  2. Why is there an alarming trend in teens (one out of five) abusing prescription drugs?
  3. Why are record numbers of accidental deaths occurring from prescription drug abuse?
  4. How does addiction occur? What happens in the brain?
  5. How can people recognize the signs of addiction in themselves or someone else—and what should they do about it?
  6. How do people commonly obtain prescription drugs illegally through physicians, pharmacists, and Internet pharmacies?
  7. Does taking medication for legitimate pain always lead to addiction?
  8. Who is most at risk for prescription drug abuse or misuse?
  9. Why are senior citizens especially at risk for addiction to pills?
  10. What are the treatment options for prescription drug addiction?
  11. How does the newer drug Suboxone help with dependence on opioid drugs?
  12. How is methadone used to treat addiction to prescription drugs?
  13. What human emotion commonly deters people from seeking help for addiction?
  14. What are law enforcement agencies doing to combat the addiction problem?
  15. What is prescription drug monitoring and which states have it?
  16. When you began researching and writing about this subject, what was the most surprising or unexpected fact you uncovered?

Common Myths about Prescription Drug Abuse

Myth: The abuse of prescription drugs comprises only a small part of the nation’s drug problem.

Truth: Fourteen of the twenty most abused mood-altering substances in this country are prescription drugs.

Myth: There is no such thing as becoming an addict innocently.

Truth: Many people become “unwitting” addicts. These are often individuals with no prior history of drug abuse, who first started using a prescribed drug for a legitimate medical problem. Then at some point they started increasing the dosages on their own because the drug made them feel better. Gradually the abuse became full-blown addiction.

Myth: Physiological dependence is the same as addiction.

Truth: One can become physically dependent on a drug, say a pain medication, over time. If the drug were stopped, the body would experience withdrawal symptoms. However, this type of dependence is not addiction. A patient with physiological dependence can quit the drug, usually by being tapered off it gradually with medical supervision and without admission into a drug treatment program.

Myth: You can quite drugs cold turkey if you really want to.

Truth: Most addicts require professional help to quit. The side effects from withdrawal from certain prescribed medications can be dangerous, leading to coma and even death.

Myth: Once you have been treated for an addiction to a narcotic, you can safely take other addictive medications.

Truth: Unfortunately, relapse often occurs when recovering drug addicts believe they are immune to other substances. Once addicted to a mood-altering substance, addicts have the brain chemistry that predisposes them to dependency. This puts them at risk for relapse from something as innocent as an over-the-counter cold medication or a glass of wine.

Myth: The use of opioids such as OxyContin for chronic pain inevitably leads to addiction.

Truth: Studies show that the incidence of addiction is low among patients who are treated for legitimate pain.

For more information or to contact Rod Colvin:

Addicus Books (402) 330-7493



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