Is Someone You Love Addicted to Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem in the United States especially among teenagers and young adults, and there’s no sign of that abuse slowing down. Although medication can at times help people lead more productive lives and free them from medical symptoms, it is only beneficial when prescribed by a doctor or healthcare provider and used as it was intended. Abusing prescription drugs can lead to a host of health problems, including death. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to prescription drug abuse, you need to know the facts and potential health hazards.
Prescription Drug Abuse is on the Rise: The Statistics
According to Partnership for a Drug Free America, one in five teens has abused prescription painkillers; one in five teens report abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers; and one out of 10 teens has abused cough medicine.
Prescriptive drugs are frequently sold on the street. A national survey on drug use and health confirmed that among youth aged 12 to 17; six percent have tried prescription drugs for recreational use.
Abusers often think they are not doing anything against the law since a doctor prescribes these drugs. However, using drugs without a prescription or sharing a prescription drug with friends is in fact illegal. In addition, most teenagers think these drugs are safe because a doctor has prescribed them. However, “self-medicating” without a prescription is as dangerous and addictive as using street narcotics and other illicit drugs.
The chances are high for an abuser of street drugs or prescription drugs to commit a crime or have an accident jeopardizing others’ lives as well as their own. Often the abuser is experiencing interpersonal relationship problems or may be in trouble with the law.
The Health Threats
Using prescriptive drugs for the wrong reasons can lead to very serious health risks especially if taken with other substances like alcohol, antihistamines, and CNS depressants.
CNS depressant drugs, when combined with other drugs such as painkillers, cold and allergy prescriptions or alcohol, can dangerously slow the heartbeat and even result in death.
Abusing stimulants can cause heart failure or seizures especially when mixed with other drugs. Consuming high doses of a stimulant can lead to dangerously high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat. Additionally, ingesting high doses over a short period of time can cause aggression and paranoia.
Although misusing stimulants usually will not produce any physical dependency or withdrawal, it can lead to emotional dependency and habits that are equally hard to break.
Taking prescriptive drugs in the wrong way can manifest into very dangerous consequences. For example, Ritalin seems harmless for children with ADHD but it is extremely harmful when snorted or injected. Abusing painkillers to get high is like abusing heroin because both contain opiates. Since many pills look the same, the dosages manifest in varying effects from mild to lethal.
Moreover, there are many variations of the same medication and the abuser may not be aware of which one they have taken, how long it will remain in the body and the dangers of it interacting with other chemicals.
Don’t let a doctor’s signature fool you: the truth is prescription drugs can be just as addictive as street drugs. If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, you should seek help immediately. Addiction is not easy to overcome, but the health and other risks of prescription drug abuse are much more damaging, and potentially irreversible.