Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States especially among the youth of our country. The Partnership for a Drug Free America says that 2,500 teens a day abuse prescription drugs. Abuse of these narcotics can lead to serious mental and physical consequences. Why is this such a problem, what can we do to solve it, and how is it affecting our social lives? First we must explore what prescription drugs are being abused. The most popular abused drugs fall into three categories. Depressants of the central nervous system typically used to anxiety or sleep disorders.
Stimulant used to treat such disorders as ADHD and ADD and the most commonly abused are opiates used to treat pain. Opiates attach to receptors in the brain to block pain when abused they create euphoric feeling. When taken properly they are used to treat many different types of pain including pain in teeth, skeletal system, skin, internal organs of the body. When used in high doses opiates can also relieve pain cause with certain types of cancer. The most commonly abused opiates are Hydrocodone, Oxycotin, Fentanyl, and Morphine.
Prescription Drug Abuse Essay Example
These substances are taken snorted, smoked and sometimes even injected to give a high close to heroine. Heroine is made from the opiate plant so these pain killers are basically synthetic heroine. Fentanyl happens to be 600 times more powerful then heroine. By the end of the 19th century nearly one million Americans were addicted to opiates (Drugs and Society p. 250). In 1914 when the Harrison Narcotic Act was passed the average opiate addict was a middle age, southern, white woman who functioned well and was adjusted to her role as a wife and a mother.
She bought Opium or Morphine legally by mail order from Sears and Roebuck or at the local store, used it orally and caused very few problems. A number of physicians were addicted as well. One of the best known Morphine addicts was William Holsted a founder of the John Hopkins Medical School (drugs and society p254- 255). Continues use of the drugs can lead to high tolerance and addiction. One of the worst physical side effects of opiate addiction has to be withdrawals.
After extended use of the opiates your body becomes physically dependant on the drugs and stopping the use of the drug or not taking anything leads to physical withdrawals symptoms include sweats, painful stomach cramps associated with diarrhea, nausea, insomnia, headaches, muscle aches, flu like symptoms, runny nose, restlessness and sometimes seizures. Most of these symptoms are not deadly but make the person extremely uncomfortable. This is what makes people want to pick up and use again. Abuse of prescription drugs can help a person feel as they are escaping from reality.
Problems in your social, work or love life, stress and loneliness can lead to self medicating for therapeutic reasons. This addiction does not single anyone out everyone can be at risk for this. Many of the people I know who are addicted to opiates were prescribed them and became addicted. When the prescriptions were no longer getting filled these people began buying the drugs on the street and eventually because of the high price of the pills unfortunately they then look to heroine for a cheaper, similar high. It is rather unfortunate that I have such a close experience with this as I was once highly addicted my self.
I saw my life begin to spiral downward before mine and my family’s eyes. It started with a serious surgery that an ex boyfriend had. I had Experimenting with drugs in high school as many of us have. When he asked if I wanted some of his pain meds I thought why not? I figured it was like smoking weed or drinking how wrong I had been. I loved how careless I felt and how nothing seemed to matter when I was on these drugs. My addiction began slowly short on money but still working and functioning. I stopped showing up for work because I was either to messed up too go or could not get a fix and would be sick.
After losing a good job that I had worked hard at for almost 5 years I began a tragic downward spiral that happened faster than anyone could have ever imagined. I began disappearing for days at a time leaving my parents sick with worry. Nothing else mattered but the high I became emotionless and numb. Unfortunately what happened was tragic but has made me the person I am today. I personally feel that I would have never become addicted to these substances if I had been better educated. I had experimented with drugs as a young adult but nothing had grabbed me and took my life as these painkillers had.
Had I known what I was getting my self into I know I would have never let this happen. I am fortunate I was able to walk away from my addiction with some pride as I learned in my recovery not to many people have been that lucky. I had never been in trouble and thankfully had not hurt anyone to terrible to be left all alone. I have a good amount of clean time but continue in my recovery I attend meetings weekly and keep in my mind the sad statistics and reality of what can happen to recovering addicts. This is something that I will struggle with probably for the rest of my life.
Although I am no longer an addict I am still a recovering addict and as the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous books say every day clean is one day closer to using. That is just my personal experience with prescription drug abuse. In an article retrieved through EBSCO host about pharmacists who abuse prescription drugs found ties between the abuse and professional malfeasance such as employee theft, violations of ascribed professional responsibility, diminished patient care due to impairment and host of other ethical considerations.
These conditions do not readily apply to a non pharmacist use of prescription drugs, nor does it apply to a pharmacist’s use of street drugs, alcohol, or other mind altering substances (Social Factors Associated with Pharmacists Unauthorized Use of Mind-Altering Prescription Drugs p2 paragraph 3). How ever I think that this relates to anyone using prescription drugs trying to maintain a professional job. People who are addicted to prescription drugs tend to be irritable especially when coming down off the pills. This can lead to problems with family, loss of relationships and friends due to a poor attitude.
Some other mental symptoms include depression, rage, constant fatigue, anxiety, lack of concentration, and psychosis. Addiction can also affect your morals. People who would never steal before find themselves stealing from people they love even to get money or possibly taking pain pills from someone else who could possibly be in great deal of pain and need those pills. When you are addicted to a substance especially one that your body is physically dependant on you tend to plan your whole day around your addiction. Everything in your life will begin to revolve around the drug.
This can affect your job and social life. You show up late to work or miss days because of constant fatigue or staying up late or being sick from not having the drug. You stop paying your bills to support your ever growing drug habit. You begin to loose interest in the people places and things you once loved the drug becomes your whole life. Why is this a problem in our country? I feel a lot of this has to do with drug education in this country. We use a program called D. A. R. E (drug abuse resistance education) in which 5th grade students are taught by a police officer about drugs.
I don’t know too many 5th graders who are into drugs or exposed to them or even curious at that age. A young member of cocaine anonymous can barely recall his formal drug education he calls the police officer some what of a “Dudley-Do-Right” who made several visits to his school warning of the dangers posed but illicit substances although he agrees at that age drugs were best avoided he recalls no further lesson and by his late teens was addicted to crack cocaine and methamphetamine (In America Lessons Learned p 1 paragraph 1).
Most attempts to reduce drug demand in America are aimed at 11-14 year olds. Children need to begin there drug education at this age and needs to continue on to young adulthood when the pressure to use drugs are around. Also I think that real addicts need to come in and talk to the students. Not just your average junkie on the street but the functioning addicted who works a job and some what keeps their life together minus drug addiction.
They need people who have worked the system and beat their addiction to tell the horror stories of what happened to them first before they realized they needed and wanted help. In a research experiment on peer vs. adult led drug education familiar trainers had been received as slightly more effective score then unfamiliar trainers. Our youth needs to know the dangers of using drug especially prescription drugs. As a recovering addict I struggle with the issues that I feel led to my addiction.
When I asked myself what I knew about the drugs before I started taking them that if I had known what I was taking, that these pills were extremely physically and mentally addicting. Figuring the pills were safe and it was a harmless buzz because doctors prescribe it to people on a daily basis. Had I known the dangers I would have never let them as comfortably into my life as I had. I never would have thought that by 22 years old I would be a recovering addict trying to plan a life around meetings and treatments vital to recovery.
Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in our country its physical and mental affects can be extremely damaging to the person using them. I think with better education on drugs this is a problem that could be solved. References The Loss of Michael Jackson: an Important Time to Talk to Your Kids about Rx Abuse (N. D. ) Retrieved November 11, 2009 from www. DrugFree. Org Hanson, G. Venturelli, P. and Fleckenstein, A (2006). Drugs and Society, Ninth Edition. Sudbury, MA: JB Publishers In America, lessons learned (2009 March 7) Economist.
Retrieved November 11 2009 from academic premier data base. Hollinger, R. Dabney, D. (2002). Social Factors Associated with Pharmacists Unauthorized use of Mind Altering Prescription Medications. Journal of Drug Issues Retrieved August 1 2009 from academic premier data base St. Pierre, T. , & Kaltreider, D. (1997). Strategies for involving parents of high-risk youth in drug prevention: A three-year longitudinal study in boys & girls clubs. Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 473-485. Retrieved November 11 2009 from academic premier data base