15 May

I was reading an article today about the legal drinking age of 21 and how ever since it was raised from age 18 thirty years ago there has been an increase in the abuse of other drugs by teens and those under the age of 21.

In fact, Teen drug abuse with opioids is now second only to marijuana in popularity and today almost one in 10 high school seniors report taking hydrocodone (Vicodin) within the past year. And Among teens and people under the age of 30, Anti-anxiety drug abuse is the most common among abused drugs.

The Mayo Clinic describes Prescription drug abuse as: The use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor, such as for the feelings you get from the drug. Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high.

what I find most interesting or perhaps most distressing is that these new “most commonly abused drugs” are not illegal drugs but rather what is commonly called prescription medication…meaning that a doctor’s prescription is needed in order to legally obtain them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 48 million people are using prescription drugs for non medical reasons. That’s just about 20% of the entire U.S. population! And of course this increase has led to a corresponding increase in ER visits because of accidental overdoses as well as admissions to drug treatment programs for drug addictions.

But if the most abused drugs like, Xanax, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Ritalin, Adderall and Ambien can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription presented to and filled by a Pharmacist, then how does everyone get their hands on so many of these drugs? Especially when you need access to quite a few of these pills to develop an addiction in the first place.

Isn’t this a case of prescription addiction/abuse before it’s a case of drug addiction/abuse?



8 Responses to “Prescriptaholics?”

  1. msauthorette May 15, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    You’re right, for the most part, that the heart of the problem is prescription abuse; meaning doctors are over prescribing medications. When I was in pharmacy tech school, and I interned at Walgreen’s we would call those doctors “candy doctors”, because they would prescribe serious drugs like, well, candy, and so people would drive from other cities to see these doctors to get their legal drug fix. However, there is another side to this. My ex husband had substance/drug addiction problems (and still does); and though his preference was for illegal drugs, many “friends” of his that I met were addicted to prescription drugs. The theory is that they are safer than street drugs. Anyways, these people did not have a prescription from a doctor. They would get their vicodins, percocets, and oxycontin from people who sold their own legally prescribed drugs. So, it’s a two-fold problem. Yes, doctors do prescribe way too much medication, way too often. But some patients fake or exaggerate illness or pain, so they can sell their medication, because they can make quite alot from it. But that’s just my two cents.

  2. womanseyeview May 15, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    And where is Big Pharma in all this? They are very rich and able to give ‘gifts’ to the nice doctors who push their drugs…

  3. avwalters May 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    And is it your contention that the solution to this big-pharma/doctor problem is the return to the old stand-by, alcohol?

    • gpicone May 16, 2014 at 4:28 am #

      Yes, but by prescription only!

  4. naptimethoughts May 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I say legalize pot. All those EXTREMELY dangerous scripts are really expensive, and if we legalized pot, it would be a cheap(er) alternative for kids who are going to do drugs anyhow. And really, most kids are going to do drugs anyhow, so what are our options for gateway drugs? Alcohol? then they have to get home, or they drink waaaaay too much and end up dead or in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, prescription drugs, so addictive they’ll be a twelve stepper for the rest of their short lives, (or till they figure out that crack is cheaper) or controlled, natural marijuana. No physical addiction, no overdose, and God forbid they chose to drive, instead of a crazy alcohol induced swerve and speed, they’ll do the high 35 (all the way on the right shoulder). Only until they get home from the quicky mart with their ben and jerry’s, though. I’m not saying I want my kids smoking up… I’m just saying I’ll take it if I have to choose.

  5. ontyrepassages May 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    I could go on a mega rant about the doctors who overprescribe, are too quick to prescribe, and don’t mind taking you down that road without seeking to cure the core problems. At the same time, those willing to live on those same prescriptions rather then deal with their issues continues to grow. Sure, these drugs have their place, but there place shouldn’t be that they flow through our society like candy.

    I will never, ever step foot in another psychiatrist’s office. Did I mention, NEVER? Not only were meds prescribed like candy, but they were switched on the fly without hesitation and often mixed with other drugs that were supposed to make them easier to tolerate, but instead caused interactive side effects. They took someone suffering depression and turned her into a walking zombie who huddled in the corner of her bathroom weeping, desperately trying not to commit suicide, and screaming at the voices coming out of her walls. NEVER AGAIN!

    Instead, I found someone who helped me without drugs (a humanist psychologist, in case you’re interested). Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise, and a healthy diet should be the prescription of choice. Want to truly help someone? Assign them a life coach instead of prescribing drugs. Drugs should be reserved as a last resort. It’s been years since I went through that drug-induced insanity and now I’m healthier, both physically and mentally. My clear mind has allowed me to follow the career path that eluded me most of my life and now I’m an author. Yes, life is good and I look forward to each day, for each day I cherish.

  6. willowdancer May 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    You have raised an interesting topic! Unfortunately, we have become a nation dependent upon pills to “fix” everything! Rather than look at behaviors that may be causing a particular issue and changing those that no longer serve, we would rather run to the doctor to get a prescription for the latest and greatest drug that is advertised on TV (something that should not be allowed, in my opinion). We over medicate and, therefore, drugs of all kinds are usually just laying around in someone’s medicine cabinet. Very easy for people to start using someone else’s prescription because it is just too easy to get our hands on the goods!!!

    Then there is also the issue of someone who has to start dealing with side effects (which sometimes are worse than whatever was wrong in the first place!). Before you know it, you are on a plethora of medications, some to affect this, some to counterbalance that; where does it end?

    I am so glad I decided long ago that I did not want to be on that roller coaster ride! I stay as far away from pharmaceuticals as I possibly can!! Give me a massage any day!!!

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