Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic. Millions of people are arrested, undergo treatment, overdose or become addicted to prescription drug medication. Because of the vast majority of individuals turning to prescription drug, there is a significant decrease in the use of street drugs like cocaine and marijuana, according to information received from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Prescription drug abuse statistics show that about 1/3 of the people interviewed aged 12 years old and up, use or have used prescription drugs, for non medical purposes. The main reason teens and younger adults use prescription drugs is based on the theory that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs. They obviously do not know the true definition of prescription drug abuse.
Younger teens and adults feel that since the medication prescription is written by a doctor, and filled by a pharmacist the prescription medication is fine. What most teens and adults fail to acknowledge is the possibility of co-dependency. Most drug addictions begin with pain pills to relieve a headache, or to help get to sleep at night. Soon after, the need to use pills becomes increasingly obvious to others, but unnoticeable to those taking the medication. One way to get people to acknowledge they have a problem is to bring the problem home to the community.
Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Through Education
This is why health, and drug abuse education is so important for communities. Thousands of people have lost their careers, their homes, and their prestige due to drugs, particularly prescription drugs. In 2011 the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan supported by the Obama Administration’s National Control Strategy implemented a plan that covers four major areas of drug abuse, in addition to the signs of abuse; Education, Monitoring, Proper medication disposal and Enforcement. Each area of the plan is intended to educate parents, patients and children about the proper usage of prescription drugs, and the dangers of using someone else’s prescription medication.
Too many people abuse prescription medication, and have no idea that they are. In fact, millions of people consume medication that is not originally prescribed to them. This practice is deadly, and it can have severe consequences on the user. Prescription drug users don’t feel that they are doing anything wrong. They believe that the drugs they are taking is not illicit drugs, and therefore the drugs can do them no harm. This is the type of misinformation that is responsible for drug addictions and overdoses.
Prescription drug users might not be aware of one important piece of fact. All medications have some risks and side effects. However, the biggest side effect is addiction. Becoming addicted to uppers, downers, pain relievers, and other similar medications presents a problem for people who are recovering alcohols, or prior drug users. First time prescription users might be lucky enough not to get addicted, but there are some people that are not so lucky.
New people join the addiction cycle each day, which is really scary. Healthcare professionals, and mental health counselors work tirelessly to find out the cause of such addictions, so they can offer a more safe solution. There are alternatives to prescription drug medication, that will benefit individuals who are addicted, or on their way to becoming addicted.
When individuals are educated on the dangers of drugs, even prescription drugs they are forced to face facts. With facts, comes consequences. Individuals who abuse prescription drugs have a responsibility to themselves to learn how to overcome their addiction. Being dependent on drugs is not fun, but it is a choice. While addiction is an illness, it can be conquered. People who are determined to break their addiction will do whatever it takes to be free for prescription medication dependency.
Breakdown of ONDCP Prescription Drug Plan and Prevention
Through education, communities learn how to put together effective drug prevention programs. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health collect and report important data from thousands of people, and afterwards the organization categorize who use drugs, at what age they begin, which type of drug it was, and what drugs are they currently using. This information is valuable to health agencies who offer or want to offer drug prevention programs in their community. According to the NSDUH more than 2 million people use prescription drugs for non medical purposes for the first time, during the past year. More than half of the users were females, and one- third were adolescents and teens aged 12 to 17.
Although, the survey showed a great number of youth involvement, other adults like older adults are also at risk of being addicted to prescription medication. As it stands, prescription drug use ranks second as the most common drug use in the United States. Surveys show that there has been a decrease in prescription drug usage in 2011 compared to 2010 drug usage. However, statistics show that from 2005 to 2011 there were still 15.7 million people 12 and older who misused prescription drug. Although the number of drug usage is declining, there are still more people to reach.
Setting Up Community Drug Prevention Awareness Facilities
Local and state public healthcare officials can better understand and provide help within their community, if they know the scope of prevention needed. Prescription drug use is more prevalent in some areas, more so than other areas. The idea is to focus on areas that are heavily saturated with drug use, and offer those communities some valuable resources like intervention, prevention, education, and treatment.
Although, some communities have public health departments and low cost clinics, these centers are not equipped to deal with the emotional, mental and psychological effects of prescription drug use. There is a reason why people turn to prescription medication. Through education and prevention, prescription drug users can find other alternatives to dealing with the cause. For younger adults their purpose is not to alleviate pain, but to enjoy the feeling that most medications give.
Prescription Drug Abuse Affect Communities
Prescription drug abuse is not a private affair, it is a community affair. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and others in society share a humanitarian responsibility. Anyone can become a drug abuser, even the rich. In other words social status has nothing to do with facts. The majority of people abusing prescription drugs are professional well educated people with college degrees and great careers. However, in some areas and across all social barriers, teens are the most vulnerable sect, when it comes to trying out, or testing new ways to get high.Teen prescription drug abuse is a serious problem.
For teens the risk of consuming prescription drugs for recreational purposes leaves room for great concern. The most abused substances of teens aged 14 and up are alcohol and marijuana. After they have experimented with these drugs, they now want to try something new. They call it getting a “buzz” or getting “high”, which still adds up to “getting stoned.” Where do teens get prescription drug medication from?
Teens have a dozen ways of getting their hands on illegal street and prescription drugs. They have friends that may supply them with the drugs, or friends that can introduce them to someone who can get their hands on the drugs. For other teens, all they need to do is look inside the medicine cabinet at home, and take some of their parents prescription medication. The choice to take prescription drugs is different for teen boys and girls.
Likely Use of Prescription Drug Use Among Teen Boys and Girls
Boys are more likely to use prescription drugs as a stimulant. They may use prescription drugs in small groups, as part of their fun and recreational time. This is not unusual, as boys are more daring in some situations than girls. Teen girls are just the opposite. Getting high off prescription drugs is not really their main reason for taking the drug. Girls normally take prescription drug medication to stay alert or to lose weight. Whatever the reasons are for teens taking prescription drugs, the reasons do not make taking the drugs any less safer.
The greatest risk teens face by taking prescription drug medication is taking too much, which results in an overdose. The risk of taking an overdose is high among teens and adults. The type of drugs used are:
Stimulants are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, these are the pills that get you high. These type of drugs are mainly prescribed to children with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Such prescription drugs include Ritalin and Adderall. Other prescription drugs include depressants and Opioids. Depressants like Xanax and Valium are used to relieve stress, tension and anxiety. The drugs also work as a sleep aid. Opioids are painkillers, and include such drugs as Codeine, Vicodin and OxyContin.
The feeling people get from taking these prescription drugs are probably the same feeling they get, if they were to consume street drugs.
Dangers of Prescription Drug Medications
The danger that most individuals ignore or don’t think about is the health risk involved in taking prescription drug medication. Medication that is prescribed to someone else, but pose and immediate danger to the user. People immune systems are different. A drug that helps one person, might actually harm another people. This is due to the chemical makeup of each person’s body. Some people have chemical imbalances, low resistance, or a weaken immune system. Any upset to their natural order of the body, can trigger some negative responses from the body.
This is why it is imperative for individuals to think twice or even thrice, before taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed to them, by their doctor. Prescription drug medication is only safe for the person whom the prescription was written. Their doctor knows what medication their body can tolerate, and what dosage is appropriate, and for what length of time. What get most people hooked on prescription medication is taking too much, and enjoying the effects of the medication.
Everyone wants to feel good, and enjoy a lot of days and nights without feeling any pain. Unfortunately, chronic conditions are painful, but they are manageable. There are medications that are not habit forming, that actually works. There is also physical therapy, water aerobics and other types of non surgical treatment that is a lot safer than consuming massive amounts of prescription drug medication. The time to be concerned and to stop prescription drug abuse is now. There is no safe illicit or illegal drug, prescription of otherwise, that is 100% safe.
The only way to stay safe, and to not become a victim of prescription drug abuse, is to stay away from prescription drugs that clearly belong to someone else. Most of all, do not experiment with new drugs, because the side long term effects might be too dangerous, and the results can lead to serious life threatening issues. Programs on prescription drug abuse prevention and intervention is available in many cities and states, throughout the United States. The goal of these programs is to educate and prevent further prescription drug addiction.