When efforts were directed to curb the rise in illicit drug epidemic, prescription drugs, meanwhile, sneaked into the U.S. society, especially prompting college students, women and elderly population develop a gradual inclination toward such drugs, which soon turned into an addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 2 million people in the United States are suffering from painkiller use disorder. Prescription drugs that are abused widely in the U.S. include painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin) and stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin).
The sharp rise in prescription drug abuse can primarily be attributed to two factors – easy availability at medical stores and frequent sharing among friends. Additionally, the perception that prescription drugs are safe even when abused misleads people to develop the problem of prescription drug abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 183,000 people died between 1999 and 2015 from overdoses related to prescription opioids.
According to various studies, prescription drug abuse may cause more harm and damage than other illicit drugs. The harms can be both short term and long term. While the short-term harms may include reduced ability to react quickly and lack of concentration, the long-term side effects can be much severe.
Insight to long-term side effects of prescription drug abuse
The long-term side effects include organ failure or damage and decrease in cognitive function. While abuse of pain relievers can cause severe damages such as respiratory failure, intense withdrawal symptoms and addiction, abuse of tranquilizers can badly affect central nervous system (CNC). As tranquilizers are often prescribed to patients who are unable to control rapid brain activity, their excessive use tends to slow down the activities of the brain, thereby causing brain damage that may even lead to death.
The intensity of the side effects is also decided by the way a drug is taken. A prescription drug can be taken in three different forms – crushed, snorted or injected in the blood. In case a drug is crushed for the intake, the practice increases the risk of heart damage and other cardiovascular concerns, thereby elevating the likelihood of heart attacks. These risks are also there when a person takes the drug by injecting it into the blood. Besides, injecting drugs in a non-sterile condition also gives rise to the risk of contracting serious blood-borne illnesses such as HIV.
As stimulants are primarily prescribed to patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to help them improve their concentration and attention ability, over intake of these drugs can potentially lead to extreme weight loss causing malnutrition, paranoia, chronic insomnia and dehydration.
Road to recovery
Any kind of drug abuse changes the chemistry of the body, majorly in a manner that develops a dependence on the drug. Additionally, constant supply of drugs to the body makes the naturally existing equations less stable, which leads to severe health complications and can even result in death.
If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription drugs and is seeking treatment, you may contact the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline for information about prescription drug rehabs in Florida. You may also call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online to learn more about one of the best drug rehab centers in Florida.