Facts And Statistics On Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse happens when individuals begin taking prescription medications that are not prescribed for them or have the medication in a manner which is different from the doctor’s advice. Prescription drugs are considered as safer than illegal drugs by most people, despite the fact that the medications can be dangerous and in many cases even fatal. The potential for overdosing on prescription medications or developing an addiction exists.
The Main Culprits Of Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is not a habit which can be taken lightly because approximately 16 million people within the United States are abusing prescription medications. Around 20% of high school students have admitted to taking prescription drugs without advice from their doctor or a prescription. Among the age group of 12 to 17, females are abusing prescription drugs more than males and the highest rate of abuse has been observed among teenagers and individuals in their 20s. An increase in prescription drug abuse is also being seen among people in their 50s.
The Dangers Associated With Prescription Drug Abuse
For some reason, people have a misconception they are relatively safe when they abuse prescription drugs as compared to street drugs. They are probably overlooking the fact that they can develop a tolerance for the medications. They are allowing their body to become accustomed to the drugs to the point where the drug does not produce the desired effect. At this level, the individual will begin to feel the need for a higher dose of the same medication.
Stopping or even reducing the dosage of the medication after using it for an extended period of time will result in withdrawal symptoms which can be mild or life-threatening. Needing a higher dosage or experiencing negative withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped or decreased and the withdrawal symptoms which follow are usually the features of dependence on the medication.
An addiction has been referred to as a condition of the brain which seeks and craves for the substance, despite the harm it can cause. Physical dependence can be a component of the addiction but is not always the case.
Which Are The Most Popular Prescription Drugs?
The most commonly abused prescription drugs are painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants, along with anabolic steroids which are also used and abused. Nearly half of the prescription medications abused are obtained from a friend or a family member. The method of ingesting the medication can be different with the sole purpose of getting high. Individuals may decide to inject a particular medication when the label clearly states it needs to be ingested orally. People are using various methods for abusing prescription medications. Depending on their choice, they are using methods of swallowing, injecting, smoking, snorting or even chewing. Some are even using them as suppositories. The dangers of prescription medications become intensified when they are abused in combination with alcohol and over-the-counter medications or other types including street drugs.
Painkillers which are also referred to as opioids are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs. These medications decrease the perception of pain and some of them include hydrocodone, acetaminophen, oxycodone and fentanyl. The use and abuse of opioids are related to approximately 75% of deaths related to an overdose. People usually begin taking opioids recreationally because they can cause a sense of euphoria. They perhaps do not understand that reduction of the dosage or stopping the abuse of the medication will lead to withdrawal symptoms and can also be fatal.
Tranquilizers which are helpful in reducing anxiety and treating sleep disorders are also abused by many people. Tranquilizers can produce drowsiness and induce a sense of calm within the individual. The abuse of tranquilizers can lead to lethargy, confusion and more. When tranquilizers are combined with alcohol, they have the potential to depress breathing leading to death.
The abuse of stimulants results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Stimulants work by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain but many people are abusing them because of the belief that they can improve cognitive performance. Some stimulants can also cause hallucinations and paranoia.
Overdose From Prescription Drugs Is Possible
Approximately 60% of deaths are related to prescription drug abuse with opioid, painkillers being responsible for the most. A quarter of 1 million people visit emergency rooms every year because of their habit of abusing prescription drugs. The fatality rates among men are higher than women and people in the group of 45 to 49 are most susceptible to fatalities from prescription drug abuse.
Within the United States, nearly 20 million people in the age group of 12 and over need treatment for abuse of substances. However, just about 10% of these numbers are receiving the treatment they need. Nearly 1/3 of all people in treatment centers are below the age of 30. Recovery from the substance or prescription drug abuse is entirely possible but will take quite a bit of time and will also require plenty of determination from the individual.
People who are trying to find treatment facilities for prescription drug abuse can contact the providers directly or through a family member but must remember to make proper inquiries about the facility, before enrolling into any program they may be offering.
Rather than getting into the problem of prescription drug abuse, people are often advised to use methods of prescription drug abuse prevention. Getting into the prevention mode will need people to follow the advice of their doctor, never obtain or exchange prescription medications with friends and family and most importantly use the medications just as prescribed by the doctor. The statistics of prescription drug abuse are indeed alarming and are increasing regularly. People should be making an attempt to become another statistical figure in the vast numbers of individuals dealing with prescription drug abuse.
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