Prescription Drugs: Addiction’s Changing Face

Once upon a time, stereotypical characters provided predictable endings to stories.

Today’s heroes and villains aren’t as predictable in the real world.

The faces of those we expect to be involved in crime or illicit activities has changed. Parents of children who have fallen into drug abuse will tell you that appearances alone cannot reveal those who are drug abusers.

Predicting The Story Is Difficult

Drug abusers today don’t look like the typical “bad guy.” They might be the straight-A student, the star athlete, or even the beloved teacher or coach. It can be the silver-haired grandma on the corner or the stay-at-home mom next door. Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. Many individuals begin their drug abuse with a drug that was originally purchased from a pharmacy rather than purchased from a street corner.

In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 20,044 people in the United States had an overdose death which involved taking a prescription drug.  In total, there were 36,450 people who died from a drug overdose that year. More people died from overdoses related to prescription drugs than from illicit drugs.

The Diligent Student

Some teens or adults get hooked on prescription drugs when they hear the buzz that many of their fellow classmates are using them to get better grades. Better grades? These words may entice any hardworking student. Today, some kids are calling drugs like Ritalin and Adderall “study drugs.” Some of the kids in this generation were raised on these medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and do not see the drugs as dangerous.

Drugs taken as prescribed by a doctor are designed to help patients, but the problem occurs as students take more than what is prescribed or take multiple drugs at the same time. Mixtures can be deadly. One student who had abused “study drugs” says that addiction can happen easily when you take one drug to keep you alert enough to study all night and then have to take another one to help you sleep and then fall into a habitual cycle over days or weeks.

Overwhelmed In This Fast-Paced World

Some individuals are desperately seeking stress-relief in this world of “instant everything”. While there are multiple healthy ways to relieve stress, some turn to the easy access of prescription drugs. The University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” study reported in 2011 that the opioid Vicodin was the second most abused drug by adolescents after marijuana.

Technology brings everything to us faster and easier these days. Drugs are no exception. Youth are able to buy drugs right over the internet with no doctor prescription. One battle the United States is facing is trying to stop multiple websites from supplying these drugs to practically anyone who has a credit card number.

The Nice Neighbor Next Door

Some researchers say that the casual distribution and use of drugs can even make the elderly person next door or the mother of the child with ADHD vulnerable to acquiring and taking more pills than they need.

No longer do individuals have to risk being seen buying drugs on the street, many just invade the family medicine cabinet.

You can’t judge a book by its cover or a drug abuser by their appearance.

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