Every year 12,000 deaths occur in the US because of prescription drug abuse. This number has seen a staggering increase over the last couple of decades. The recreational use of prescription drugs is a serious problem with teens and young adults. National studies show that a teen is more likely to have abused a prescription drug than an illegal street drug.
Many consider prescription drugs safer because they are prescribed by a doctor, but that is just not true. Imbibing these medicines to get high, or using them to self-medicate can be dangerous.
Prescription drugs have serious health risks; this is exactly why they are taken under the instructions of a doctor. Despite being taken under medical guidance these drugs still present a high risk of addiction.
Fatalities occur everyday when people take a pill that they think looks like some other pill. The most important thing to understand is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and that different drugs affect people differently. A drug that would be okay for some could be fatal for others.
Types of Prescription Drugs Abused:
These drugs are central nervous system depressants and slow down the function of the brain. These include sedatives and tranquilizers which make a person calm and drowsy.
These drugs are intended to reduce tension and anxiety in patients. They are also called downers and come in the form of multicolored tablets, capsules or as a liquid.
Some examples are Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol. They are known as antipsychotics and are supposed to reduce symptoms of mental illness. Depressants such as Xanax, Klonoping, Halcion and Librium are often referred to as "benzos". Barbiturates such as Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal, used as sedatives and sleeping pills, are also often abused.
Higher doses of these drugs can cause memory loss, impaired judgement and a lack of coordination. They have also been found to cause irritability, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Many people experience the opposite effect, like agitation or aggression, than the one intended.
Using depressants with other substances, especially alcohol, can slow breathing and heart rate and can even lead to death.
These drugs are painkillers and usually contain opium or opium-like substances, used to treat patients experiencing chronic pain. These drugs cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, unconsciousness, nausea, and in extreme cases even send a patient into coma.
Continued abuse of opioids can cause physical dependence and addiction. The body gets used to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms can be observed if the use is reduced or stopped.
Withdrawal symptoms sometimes drive an addict towards abuse with renewed vigor. These symptoms can be restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps. Increased tolerance in users can mean increased doses, which can cause greater damage to the body.
These types of drugs are used to increase energy and alertness and also increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. These drugs are also called uppers -- cocaine and amphetamines are some examples of the same. These drugs can come in the form of tablets or capsules. Addicts usually swallow these pills or inject them in liquid form or crush and snort them.
These drugs can cause exhaustion, apathy and depression, and the down that follows the up provided by these drugs is usually quite severe. The immediate exhaustion after the high leads the user to want the drug again. Soon enough he forgets the high from the drug and all he tries to achieve is a feeling of normalcy.
Stimulants are dangerously addictive and repeated doses over short periods can lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. They can also cause high body temperature and arrhythmia. Some examples are Ritalin, Concerta, Biphetamine and Dexedrine. Street names for these drugs can be Kibbles and bits, speed, truck drivers or black beauties.
These are usually psychiatric drugs that handle depression. These drugs include Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor and Remeron. They come as multicolored tablets or capsules. These drugs can cause nervousness, anxiety, irritability, violent thoughts, tremors and hostility among others. Some studies have also found a high correlation with aggression and criminal behavior.
A study found that 14% of young people taking antidepressants become aggressive and in some cases even violent. These drugs can also cause extreme and irrational behavior. Individuals with no history of violence begin to show aggressive and self-harming behavior. Withdrawal symptoms of this drug are also quite severe and can include anxiety, depression, weeping spells, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting, headaches and tremors.
Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse:
Opioids – Abusers of these types of drugs will usually experience constipation, depression and low blood pressure. They will also find their breathing shallower than that of non-addicts, and will often experience confusion, sweating and poor coordination.
Antidepressants – Drowsiness, confusion and an unsteady gait are among the prime symptoms experienced by an antidepressant abuser. They often experience poor judgement, involuntary movement of the eyeballs and dizziness.
Stimulants – Those abusing stimulants will see rapid weight loss, increased agitation, irritability and high blood pressure. They will have trouble sleeping, have an irregular heartbeat, restlessness and be victims of impulsive behavior.
Those addicted to prescription medication will often resort to stealing, forging and selling prescriptions to get a fix. Those taking higher doses than prescribed can also be noted as addicts. They will have regular mood swings and more often than not be hostile. They will have erratic sleep cycles and often have impaired decision making skills. Prescription drug abusers often pretend to lose prescriptions and use that as an excuse to get more written. They also tend to visit more than one doctor for a prescription.
Prescription drug abuse is a disease. If you are facing abuse by such an addict get in touch with a dangerous drugs lawyer in Raleigh for a free initial counsel. Those taking more than the medically advised dosage of prescription drugs may not be able to claim damages from the drug manufacturer in case of adverse side-effects.
Self-medicating can be a dangerous habit, so make sure that you follow your doctor's instructions when taking prescription medicines. Keep an eye on the prescription drugs you keep in your house and inform the young adults in your care about their side-effects. Drugs, while beneficial in the hands of a doctor, can be dangerous in the hands of someone just looking for a kick.