Because the use of prescription drugs is so wide spread today and teens are abusing them as well as adults, people need to understand just how serious it is when combining drugs unintentionally or to enhance their high. The common prescribed drugs that are abused today are opioid pain medications, CNS depressants for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders and stimulants used to treat ADHD.
Opioids are widely abused today and some of the prescription painkillers that are either misused or abused include Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Kadian, Avinza, and codeine. These medications are prescribed to treat different forms of pain relating to specific conditions. Many people are prescribed painkillers and because of their lack of knowledge they combine them with alcohol or other depressants not realizing how dangerous this can be. Unfortunately there are a lot of people in all age groups abusing prescription opioid medications to get high or to enhance their high from the use of other drugs today. This has led to serious health problems, overdose and even death. Opioid drugs should never be taken unless prescribed, should always be taken as directed by the patient only, and never combined or abused with CNS depressants like:
- General anesthetics
Combinations of opioid drugs combined with CNS depressants can increase a person's risk of respiratory life threatening depression according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
CNS Depressants slow down activity in our brain and are also referred to as tranquilizers and sedatives. These drugs help with anxiety and sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines like Valium which is the trade name for diazepam and Xanax which is the trade name for alprazolam are prescribed to treat panic attacks and acute reactions to stress.
There are benzodiazepines that are prescribed to treat sleep disorders like Halcion which is the trade name for triazolam and ProSom which is the trade name for estazolam, they are for short term treatment. Long term treatment is not prescribed because benzodiazepines can lead to tolerance and addiction.
Non-Benzodiazepine Medications for Sleep Problems
Medications that have fewer risks involved with use as far as dependence (addiction) and have fewer side effects include Lunesta and Sonata.
Mebaral is the trade name for mephobarbital, Luminal Sodium is the trade name for phenobarbital and Nembutal is the trade name for pentobarbital. These medications are used to reduce anxiety and for sleep problems but are not frequently prescribed. The risk of overdose is higher than benzodiazepines.
It's important that CNS depressants are never combined with other drugs and medications without supervision from a physician or medical professional. Combining CNS depressants with prescription pain medications, some over the counter cold and allergy medications, and alcohol can affect a person's heart rhythm, slow down your respiration and can lead to death according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Prescription Drug Overdose
It's sad to think that around 20% of the people in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. People seem to think that because they're prescribed drugs they are much safer than abusing street drugs even if they're not personally prescribed for them. This is a problem not only with older adults but with teens and young adults as well.
Many people combine prescription drugs with alcohol without realizing the seriousness and others intentionally combine the two substances to enhance or intensify their effects. Prescription drug overdoses are an epidemic right now in the United States and according to a Fox News article most of the deaths related to prescription drug overdose result from a person taking medications that belong to someone else.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Prescription Drug Abuse
- Opioids (narcotic painkillers)
- Drowsiness and sleepiness
- Breathing is slowed
Signs and Symptoms Stimulant Abuse
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Decreased appetite
- Loss of weight
- Heart rate increase
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased energy
Signs and Symptoms CNS Depressant Abuse
- Slowed pulse
- Slowed breathing
- Decreased blood pressure
- Coordination impaired
- Weakened and reduced concentration
- Memory impaired
- Judgment impaired
Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse
- Did you know that there were almost 15,000 people in the United States in 2008 that died from prescription pain pill overdoses?
- Around 12 million Americans aged 12 years and older in 2010 reported they had used prescription pain pills for non-medical reasons in the past year.
- In 2009 there were close to a half million ED visits due to the misuse or abuse of prescription pain killers.
- A lot more men compared to women die from overdoses from prescription pain pills.
- Adults that are middle aged have the highest prescription painkiller overdose rates.
- Prescription painkiller deaths have reached epidemic levels in the past decade.
- The number of over-dose deaths now is greater than those of deaths from cocaine and heroin abuse combined.
- There were enough prescription pain pills in 2010 prescribed to medicate every adult American around the clock for a month.
- People don't realize just how dangerous it is to accidentally misuse prescription drugs or to intentionally abuse them. Be smart and Read your prescription medications carefully and ask your physician or pharmacist is you're unsure about drug interactions.
- Never take someone else's prescription drugs or give anyone else yours.
- Never leave prescription drugs or over the counter medication lying around where they can be accidentally used or intentionally abused.
- Never combine prescription drugs or over the counter medications with alcohol.
- Never self-medicate your own symptoms and always seek professional medical advice and completely follow the doctor or medical professional's instructions and advice.
- Never combine prescription drugs with any other prescription drug, over the counter medication, illegal drug or any other substance.
If you or someone you know are abusing prescription drugs seek help because the risks involved not only affect a person mentally, emotionally and physically but can lead to accidental overdose and death.