Miss Victoria Cavanaugh
May 4, 2010
International School of San Salvador
II. Why Prescription Drugs?
III. When Did they Become Popular?
IV. What are the Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse?
V. What are the WaysOut?
“It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions but hard to get one single remedy[i]”.
All Medicines, whether obtained over the counter, or through prescription, are drugs. The fact that they are available to all legally does not mean that they are always beneficial to our health. One of the major drug problems inour community and around the world today is the misuse of prescribed medicines. Many people are not aware of how dangerous prescription drug abuse can be. These types of drugs should not be underestimated; they cause the death of millions of people around the world for their abuse. Prescription drug abuse has become a hidden epidemic that is slowly, but surely, reaching the same power as illegaldrugs[ii]. Prescription drug abuse can have the same or even worse consequences than illegal drug abuse. One of the most startling findings from recent data shows the high percentage of teenagers involved in prescription drug abuse. This drug abuse problem has gotten worse through the years. Perhaps our society must hit “rock bottom” before changes can occur.
During adolescence, teens havecuriosity which can lead them to experiment with new and different things. People often do not think of prescription drugs as being unsafe, addictive or illegal. This is because their purpose is not intended to have these effects. The use of prescription drugs may start as an innocent way to deal with pain, but when the patient starts to abuse them, it may lead to addiction. Prescription drugsmay be used for weight loss, to concentrate and study more effectively, to fit in, and for fun[iii]. There are three types of prescription drugs: opiods, stimulants, and Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants[iv]. Obtaining prescription drugs is not as hard as one may think, which is a major factor of why they are so widely abused. Some means of obtaining them are through multiple doctor shopping,forged prescriptions, via illegal online pharmacies, theft, over-prescribing of physicians, and through unethical physicians[v]. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the United States` prescriptions for stimulants increased from five million to thirty-five million in sixteen years[vi]. Due to the fact that they are not considered “street drugs”, like marijuana or cocaine,prescription drugs are underestimated by most which do not consider them deadly[vii].
Prescription drugs have been available to patients for a long time; however, the number of people misusing prescription drugs has only recently increased, to a point in which in the United States only, one in five teenagers has experimented with them[viii]. Recently, the number of teens abusing prescription drugshas escalated dramatically. In “Pharm Parties” are becoming popular among adolescents. In these parties, kids come in contact with several different types and amounts of stolen prescription drugs. The effects of mixing these drugs with other drugs or alcohol can contribute to addiction and even cause death[ix].The use of these drugs is safe and helpful only when following a physician’s directionsand conditions. “All substances are poisonous; there is none which is not poison. The right does differentiates a poison from remedy”[x].
When prescription drugs are not used as directed, they may have severe consequences for the user, depending on the amount of drugs ingested and the type of prescription drug: opiod, CNS depressant or stimulant. Opiods act in the brain, spinal chord and...