Posts tagged with ‘prescription drug addiction’
Prescription drug abuse is defined as using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, such as to get high. Prescription drug abuse is especially common among teens and young adults, who often steal medication from their parents or their friends’ parents, usually without their knowledge. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine; central nervous system depressants such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines; and stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate.
According to a recent article in the NY Times, Congressional investigators explain that thousands of Medicare recipients are abusing prescription drugs by shopping around for new doctors while obtaining prescriptions from each of them, resulting in dangerously large amounts of painkillers. Full Story
For parents who had given in and joined the societal shoulder shrug over teen experimentation with substances, a new report should put some strength into the parental backbone. The report comes from CASA, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and deals with use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by American teens. Full Story
Many of the medications elderly people use may be the wrong choice because they carry a high risk for falling, daytime grogginess and a loss of cognitive ability, say researchers from the Nordic School of Public Health, Sweden. Full Story
Pharmaceutical pain relievers used as prescribed medications for the treatment of severe and chronic pain have high potential for abuse and dependence and have been of significant concern for some time. Research data released this year confirms that the nonmedical use of pain relievers is a substantial public health concern. According to information collected by the Office of Applied Studies at SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), the use of pain relievers in the U.S. has steadily increased over recent years causing them to become a significant class of substances among those seeking treatment for substance disorders. SAMSHA’s TEDS system (Treatment Episode Data Set) which tracks substance abuse treatment admissions in the United States, found that the nonmedical use of pain relievers increased significantly in the years between 1998 and 2008 among those seeking substance treatment. This increase indicates a dramatic need for prevention and treatment efforts that target these substances.
Teen abuse of prescriptions drugs is on the rise. Unlike illicit drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, the drugs often come from a place very close to home; parents’ medicine cabinets. Parents are often shocked to discover that narcotics from their medicine cabinets found their way to teen parties and ended up in fatal drug “cocktails”. According to the National Family Partnership, only five percent of teens that abuse prescription drugs get them from a stranger, drug dealer or the Internet. To minimize the risk of teens obtaining prescription drugs at home, the Partnership suggests locking up prescription drugs, conducting regular inventories of pill amounts and properly disposing of old medications.
On February 9, 2010, a Wisconsin teen died after overdosing on oxycodone (generic OxyContin). One area resident is fed up with teen prescription drug abuse and asserts that dangerous narcotics must be kept under lock and key in order to combat the problem; he claims that no other remedy would be as effective. To this end, Ken Kidder has begun a drive that would require locks to be installed on medicine cabinets in family homes.
Kidder’s interest in combating drug addiction stems from personal experience. His son, Greg, died at age forty-four and had battled drug addiction for most of his adult life. He started experimenting with drugs at age 13.
Coincidentally, Kidder is particularly qualified to discuss securing medicine cabinets. A tree cutter by trade, Kidder is also a master woodworker. He claims that installing medicine cabinet locks is simple, as most cabinets can be secured by using a power drill and insertable locks. The 69-year-old activist has volunteered to give area residents demonstrations on how to install the locks. Kidder has also raised one hundred dollars for the “cabinet lock-up” cause, in conjunction with a local Boy Scout troop. He used the money to buy six keyed locks at a local hardware store, which he will install for free for families with limited resources. Going forward, Kidder hopes to join forces with local building contractors, school districts, police departments and volunteer organizations to develop a community-wide cabinet lockup program.
The idea of a locking medicine cabinet is not entirely new. A Google search reveals locking medicine cabinets already being sold on Amazon.com and Linens ‘n Things. With a price tag of $180, Blomus’s attractive glass and steel locking medicine cabinet is imported from Germany and would blend seamlessly in any modern bathroom.
Prescription Drugs Must Be Disposed of Properly to Avoid Tragedy
While it is important to properly secure prescription drugs that are currently being used by family members, it is equally important to conduct a periodic review of medicine cabinet contents to identify out-dated or unnecessary prescriptions. Unfortunately, once the drugs are identified it is not entirely clear what should be done with them as flushing them into the water supply often causes residual levels of narcotics to remain in recycled drinking water. To address the disposal issue, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics has started a novel prescription drug take-back program in twenty-six locations around the state. Residents can bring their old or unused prescription drugs to the location and law enforcement officials will take custody of the controlled substances and dispose of them safely.
The fact that prescription medication addiction is a growing problem is dominating headlines. One mother addicted to painkillers falls asleep while her baby drowns in the bathtub; a group high on Xanax seeks money and winds up beating a man to death; an appliance repairman is arrested for stealing pain pills when he should be fixing appliances.
New research found a two-fold increase in the likelihood of individuals receiving opioids from multiple providers (or “doctor shopping”) when they were being simultaneously prescribed an additional class of controlled substances, such as benzodiazepines or amphetamines. When there was more than one additional drug class involved, there was a 13-fold increase for individuals seeing multiple providers.
While medical marijuana used to grab a significant amount of attention due to its popularity, the most common now is the opioid painkiller. A recent post in the LA Times captures the problems associated with the use of this drug, including its addictive properties.
Due to the rising problem of teens and prescription drug abuse, Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sex Rehab,” recently debuted the Rx Locker, a device designed to secure prescription medications within the home to restrict unauthorized access and prevent abuse.
If you’re a parent and you have teens at home (or even adolescents), don’t think that your prescription drugs are safe in your medicine cabinet. They’re not. And it doesn’t mean that your teen is necessarily going to raid your prescription stash so they can go out and get high – although that may very well be the case. What generally happens is that our teens know where we keep our prescriptions. They see us going there for this or that pill, and the imprint is made that this is where the drugs are.