With prescription medication overdoses topping those caused by all other drugs combined, medical experts have started to criticize the availability of powerful opioids. A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality revealed that no adequate evidence exists proving that opioids provide better overall results than other treatments. In response to these studies, members of the federal government are attempting to crack down on the growing rate of opioid prescription abuse in America with tough new legislation. Continue reading
Prescription painkiller overdoses kill more people than all other drugs combined, but new technologies may be helping to control the epidemic. Since the introduction of a tamper-resistant form of OxyContin, prescriptions and overdoses from prescription painkillers have gone down (U.S. News & World Report, ‘Tamper-proof’ narcotic painkiller may be curbing abuse: Study”). While opioids remain the most deadly drug on the market, new developments such as these may one day stem the tide of overdoses down to a trickle. Continue reading
Hydrocodone is a versatile opioid used to treat pain ranging from mild to severe. The drug is often combined with over-the-counter pain medications to treat more severe forms of pain. When combined with acetaminophen, the drug is best known by the brand name Vicodin. In spite of its occasional use in mild medical cases, hydrocodone is very powerful and extremely dangerous. It must always be taken under strict doctor supervision to avoid the risks of side effects and addiction (About Health, “Hydrocodone for pain management”).
Cold and cough medication is used to treat lower and upper respiratory infection from common illnesses. Their active ingredients include either codeine or dextromethorphan, (DXM), two mind-altering substances that can produce a euphoric high in large quantities. Because of this, cold medication is often abused for recreational purposes, which can lead to a wide range of mental and physical problems. Before taking cold medicine without any medical need, it’s vital to understand the potential consequences.
Ritalin is the brand name of methylphenidate, a prescription drug typically given to teens who are having trouble focusing, studying or concentrating. The drug has become extremely popular due to the effects it can have on students’ grades. In some schools, as many as 20 percent of the students take Ritalin (Foundation for a Drug-Free World, “The truth about Ritalin abuse”). Unfortunately, Ritalin is also a highly addictive and dangerous drug. Due to its powerful effects and pervasiveness, Ritalin abuse has become a major problem in America.
Demerol is an older painkiller that has largely been phased out of most pain treatments due to its complication potential. The drug is now primarily used as an anesthetic during medical procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies, where it can be carefully monitored by doctors. Prescribing Demerol for home use or for long periods often causes patients to develop a chemical dependence or suffer from one of its many side effects. The drug is extremely addictive and prolonged use can have major health repercussions on addicts (About Health, “Demerol – Not the Best Choice for Pain Management”).
Out of all the prescription painkillers on the market, OxyContin is perhaps the most famous for abuse. With a time-release design of 12 hours, the drug was created so that patients with cases of serious chronic pain will not accidentally suffer an excruciating relapse when they do not take their pills promptly every four hours (WebMD, “OxyContin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse”). When abused, OxyContin becomes an extremely dangerous and addictive narcotic. Continue reading
Stadol is the brand name for the prescription drug butorphanol tartrate, the second-most addictive painkiller on the market (Elizabeth Hartney, Ph.D., “Ten most addictive pain killers”). The drug works in a similar fashion as morphine by attaching to the opioid receptors of the brain to increase dopamine production, a neurotransmitter that regulates pleasure and pain. It is often used to manage chronic pain, for which it comes as a nasal spray, but can also be used as an anesthetic prior to surgery, for which it comes as an injected fluid. While responsible use of Stadol can greatly help patients, its addictive qualities make it ripe for abuse.
Fentanyl is the most addictive prescription painkiller on the market. It is an extremely powerful opioid most often used to treat surgical patients and people who have developed a tolerance to other types of painkillers. Researchers estimate that the drug is between 50 to 100 times as powerful as morphine. Over the years, it has become increasingly popular as a recreational drug, but its strength makes it far more dangerous for nonmedical use than other opioids, such as heroin. Anyone taking drugs containing Fentanyl should be aware of its dangerous and addictive qualities. Continue reading
Just like alcohol, many drugs hinder a person’s ability to drive safely. Driving while under the influence of a drug can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than driving while drunk. Drugged driving is a major public safety concern in the United States, with an estimated 18 percent of drivers killed on the road testing positive for at least one drug (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Before anyone considers driving after taking a drug, they should become aware of the risks they pose to themselves and everyone else on the road. Continue reading