05 Sep Dangers of Prescription Drugs
Dangers of prescription drugs
There is a growing problem of prescription pain relievers and opioid abuse in this country. Now more than ever, it is common that a teen has recreationally used a prescription drug than an illegal street drug. About 2,500 teens a day abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.
The Kind of Prescription Drugs Being Distributed Like Illegal Drugs:
- Depressants- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants like sedatives and tranquilizers slow the brain function, cause drowsiness, and reduce tension and anxiety.
- Opioids & Morphine derivatives- AKA Painkillers contain opium like substances; used to relieve pain.
- Stimulants- Used to increase energy and alertness
- Antidepressants- occasionally referred to as “downers” as they lower the level of arousal when taken
Prescription Drug Abuse is Overlooked
Overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, with a total of 16,651 deaths in the US in 2010. With that being said, since 2012, an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States were suffering from substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. Today, the public still thinks that illegal drugs like cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and heroin are the drugs being most abused, but in fact more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs, which is more than the number combined for all street drugs.
Taking someone else’s prescription to get high, or for a nonmedical use, and taking a higher dose than intended to feel euphoria, fall under abusing prescription drugs. If you ask a teenager why they chose to take a prescription medication over an illegal street drug, they are most likely going to say that they believe it is safer because it’s prescribed by a doctor. But in fact, they are actually more dangerous. Most of the opioid medications are intended to release slowly into the bloodstream because they are long acting and have a high potency. Therefore, they become most dangerous and addictive when people intend to speed up the process by crushing the pills to feel a euphoric effect, and nevertheless, that increases the risk for serious medical conditions like respiratory arrest, coma, and addiction.
This current problem has a devastating effect on a person’s direct body and mind. This liability distorts the user’s perception of what is happening around them, leading them to be unreasonable, destructive, and have a mental confusion. The effects of opioids include increases in serious infection associated with intravenous drug administration, life-threatening respiratory depression, dangerously high blood pressure, or irregular heart rhythms.
Prescription Drug Problem Continues to Rise
This leads to the skyrocketing increase in emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid analgesics. The visits went from 144,600 in 2004 to 305,900 in 2008. In addition, the overdose deaths related to prescription opioid pain relievers have tripled in the past 20 years; 16,651 deaths in 2010.
Why is there such a drastic increase in the current prescription problem? The number of prescriptions written by doctors has dramatically increased because it is more socially acceptable for using medications for different purposes, and of course the aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. There is clearly something wrong in this country when you are the biggest consumer in the world for opioid prescriptions, and for almost 100% for hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Who is to Blame?
Looking at the number of people who are dying from overdoses after the abuse of a prescribed opioid is very disturbing. However the root of the problem starts with the growing number of prescriptions from the legal market. This serious and growing problem in this country must not be ignored. Even though, prescription opioids present health risks, like other prescribed medications, doctors should make sure that people suffering from chronic pain can get the help they need, while reducing the number of prescriptions to inessential cases to avoid negative consequences.