What is prescription drug abuse?
Prescription drug abuse is the use of prescribed drugs for non-medical reasons. Doctors are prescribing drugs for health reasons more than ever before. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 20% of people in the United States use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. A few examples of prescription drug abuse include taking a friend’s prescribed pain killers to treat your headache, pain, and snorting up or injecting ground up pills to get high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse the crisis in prescription drug abuse is among teens in the United States. In fact, a recent survey conducted showed that more than 24% of high school children, approximately 5 million teens abuse prescription drugs. Some of these teens are exposed to prescription drugs in their own home, through their parent’s medicine cabinet. Others may obtain prescription drugs from friends, siblings, older adults, drug dealers, etc.
Are prescription drugs legal?
Prescription drugs are legal as long as they are ordered by a licensed practitioner as part of an individual’s treatment plan and they remain legal as long as the individual who was prescribed the drug uses them. Prescription drugs become illegal when they are taken in excess to get high, or if they are taken by someone who they were not prescribed for. So if you have a headache and you take a family member’s or friend’s prescribed pain pill, this is considered illegal usage of prescribed drugs.
Frequently abused prescription drugs
Opioids-pain relievers (Oxycodone, Percocet, Lortab, Hydrocodone, Tramadol) Central nervous system depressants-anti anxiety drugs, insomnia drugs (Barbiturates, Xanax, Elavil, Ativan, Ambien, Lexapro) Stimulants-drugs used to treat narcolepsy, obesity (Amphetamine, Ritalin, Adderall, Pemoline)
Prescription drugs are intended for medical purposes only, not recreational use. The problem with prescribed drugs is that they are easily accessible once ordered, are easily addictive and without knowing it an individual can develop tolerance to them. Along with tolerance comes the need for higher dosages, and higher dosages can lead to overdosing which can lead to death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one-hundred people die every year from drug overdose.
If you take prescription drugs and are parents, please lock up your prescribed drugs so that you children do not have access to them. And if you feel you may be addicted to prescription drugs or one of your loved ones may be addicted, seek assistance as soon as possible. Nashville is part of the coalition against prescription drug abuse and they have many detox treatment programs available for prescription drug addiction and abuse. If you sit back and do nothing about your addiction you may become a statistic. Reach out for help now and don’t try to do it on your own. Some prescription drugs may be associated with withdrawal symptoms and this is why you need medical guidance to help you overcome your addiction.