Prescription Drug Abuse an Ongoing Problem

The fact pills are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by doctors does not mean they are safe for all consumption. Unfortunately, the fact prescription drugs are so readily abused by individuals is driven greatly by the perception they are safe.

A recent CNN report highlighted the fact non-medical use of painkillers played a part in more than 8,500 deaths in 2005. From 2001 to 2005, overdose deaths involving prescription pain relievers increased 114 percent.

“Often what happens is someone experiences discomfort, anxiety, or pain. They start being treated with medicine, and need more,” said Dr. Steven Juergens, in CNN. Juergens is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington and a private addiction specialist in Bellevue, Washington.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy noted non-medical use of prescription drugs is most common among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. A study released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showed 155 teenagers out of 1,000 report abusing prescription drugs. The teens reported obtaining the drugs through a friend or family member; or, more easily through the medicine cabinet.

A common trend among teens is the participation in “pharming parties”. During these events, teens raid their home medicine cabinets, put various pills in a bowl and then pick which pill(s) to consume. It isn’t uncommon for alcohol to also be present at these parties, creating a combined danger.

“I think people of all ages don’t take medication as seriously as street drugs,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, the chief medical officer at Hazelden, a drug and alcohol treatment center. “There’s sort of a naïve belief they’re safer. The truth is pain medications are in the same exact class as heroin, morphine — they’re very addictive.”