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Subject: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: midnite on 04/23/08 at 11:41 pm

I recently saw a commercial (funny, though not intended to be) featuring a drug dealer on the street corner.  He was upset because sales were down since alot of people using and getting hooked on prescription drugs.

I wonder what the cause is for the recent presciption drug epidemic.  I am a conspiracy theorist by nature so my guesses are:
1. Drug companies put out drugs in an effort to make alot of money and get the next blockbuster drug.  These drugs are not fully tested, nor can the long-term effects of a drug be determined.
2. Doctors dont care and write out prescriptions like crazy.  Or they keep getting people to come back for appointments so they can get the copays and payments from insurance companies.

Any ideas as to the origin of the recent prescription drug epidemic?

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: QueenAmenRa on 04/24/08 at 11:50 pm

I do think you've got good points there.  I've been seeing more stories and reading more articles about prescription drugs and I think you are right about drug companies and careless doctors. 
I also think with more drugs coming out, people see it as a "safe" drug.  They think it's an ok way to self-medicate because it's not a strange mystery drug from the streets.  Have you also seen the commercial with the teenage boy in the cafeteria showing off his drugs and saying "...and this one is for my last hip replacement....and this one is for my histerectomy..."  It's like it's ok cuz it's right from your parents' or friend's medicine cabinet. 
I guess another reason it could be a popularly abused drug is the ease in which you take it.  No nasty taste, burning your throat, snorting, or injection...just pop it in and swallow and you're on your way to happyland. 

It's a bit scary the more I hear about prescription drug abuse.  Honestly I don't remember prescription drugs being a real hot topic in educational programs.  I remember as a little kid they tell you "Stay out of the medicine cabinets- it's not candy"  Then when you get older it's drinking is bad, cigarettes are bad, cocaine, crack, meth, etc etc.......oh and by the way don't overdose on pills.

These days I just keep hearing more tragedies associated with this.  A kid I knew told me his brother died from taking cocaine and too much OxyContin.  I'd never even heard of the stuff but after that I was hearing about it everywhere.  Then a kid from my home town died from taking OxyContin after downing some Red Bull.  People and especially teenagers just don't pay attention to what exactly they are mixing together.  Then look at Heath Ledger.  People just need to realize that prescription drugs can be very VERY UNSAFE

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 04/25/08 at 7:29 pm

OxyContin is heroin without the mess.  It's a big problem.  Drug companies are now allowed to advertise prescription drugs, which they were not allowed to do before.  However, people have been getting hooked on prescription narcotics, sedatives, and anxiolytics for as long as they've been around...mostly since the 1950s.  Remember the Rolling Stones' song "Mother's Little Helper"?

If you go back to 1900 prescription drug abuse per se wasn't a problem because you didn't need a prescription; you could buy heroin in the Sears catalogue!

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: Red Ant on 04/25/08 at 8:32 pm

Like Max said, prescription drug abuse is nothing new. In the 60s it was amphetamine, valium and methaqualone. Today it's mostly ADD drugs, painkillers and benzos (same family as Valium).

It's easier to get prescription drugs black market than illicit ones. The penalties for possessing pharmaceuticals without a prescription are generally nowhere near as bad as for illegal drugs.

Doctors vary from place to place, even from town to town, with regards to their dispensing practices of high powered drugs. It also depends on the drug. You would be hard pressed to find a doctor to prescribe you barbituates, because they have been around forever and doctors know they have nasty side effects. There's also more effective drugs available.

A good rule of thumb when considering taking meds: anything that speeds you up, relieves pain or helps you sleep is probably addictive. The better the drug is in any of those areas, the more addictive it is.

I was on Valium for a while for stress. Even though it's considered one of the weakest in the benzo class, I can tell you that getting off of them was one of the rougher six week stretches in my life.

OxyContin, Fentanyl, Dilaudid, etc: the strongest of painkillers are made for those who have end stage cancer or are in severe, chronic pain. What is a normal dose for a person in need can very easily be a fatal dose for someone else.

Any reputable doctor would not prescribe drugs like these for common pains.

Mawell, I heard one way to curb OC misuse: one man suggested putting capsaicin in the pills to make people stop crushing and snorting them. I bet inhaling 500,000 Scoville Heat Units would be a sufficient deterrant!


Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 04/25/08 at 11:02 pm

Depression.  One of my symptoms is sleep interruption.  I take an Ambien, problem solved.  I am on a regularized dose of Klonopin which neither inceases nor decreases, it's a maintenance dose.  My clinician is titrating me up slowly on Prozac, which is a wise thing to do.  Depending on how efficaceous the fluoxetine is, I might do away with the others. 

I work in medical field, so I see these guys who will come in asking for Percocet for an ice cream headache.  Keep me away from narcotics.  The only way I'm ever taking narcotics is if I absolutely, positively cannot cope with physical pain any other way.  I see what happens to people on chronic narcotic prescription use and it ain't pretty.  The tell the clinician to "bleep off!" because he's the bad guy standing between junky and his fix; then the junky hits the open air market downtown.  The next stop:  The methadone clinic where my friend works!

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: midnite on 04/26/08 at 10:36 am

If I could quote all of you I would. So karma for you.  Thanks for the responses. They are very good. As you mention, it must be difficult to ween off of a drug that works well.  If someone is not in the right mental state, they may not be able to ween off the drug at all and maintain an addiction.

I guess you could say that prescription drug addiction is not a new occurence.  However, it seems like there are alot more cases.  Maybe because I am adult now and am exposed to more types of people in the work world.

Another thing that seems really bizarre is that there appear to be ALOT of kids with Autism now.  I dont remember there being so many kids with autism years ago.  I can start a new topic on this.

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: QueenAmenRa on 04/26/08 at 10:52 am

Ambien...hmm.... My mom was prescribed Ambien a couple years ago because she had trouble sleeping.  Within 2 weeks of taking it she had to be rushed to the hospital cuz she thought she was having a heart attack but turned out she had an anxiety attack.  She asked the doctors if the fact she was taking Ambien had anything to do with it but they kept telling her no no there's no connection. After that she said she was becoming a lot more paranoid at night and then during the day she was a bit hyper I guess.  Yet her doctor kept telling her it had nothing to do with Ambien.  I think it was about 7-8 months after her anxiety attack she was reading articles about how research has shown that with people taking Ambien, there is an increased chance of sleepwalking, paranoia, and other symptoms.   Needless to say she's stopped taking it but I guess that's one of those situations where there is not enough research about a drug and doctors just go ahead and prescribe it.

Then my sister told me she once went to her doctor about her headaches and he was trying to talk her into taking something for depression and she refused to take it.   Knowing her she probly does have depression and/or anxiety (can you have both?  I don't know)  but still a doctor should not force somebody to take a drug.  

Then a few weeks ago I had to go to the ER because I pulled a rib muscle and was in so much pain I couldn't even lie down.  Fortunately I didn't break anything but the doctor there prescribed me 3 different drugs.  Lortab (a popularly abused painkiller), some type of NSAID, and also an Albuterol inhaler.  Still can't figure out why they would give me Albuterol unless it was for any left-over bronchitis symptoms (which was part of the cause of my injury) but it would make me way too jittery so I said screw it I'm not taking this stuff anymore.

Subject: Re: Recent Presciption Drug Epidemic

Written By: QueenAmenRa on 04/26/08 at 10:54 am

Another thing that seems really bizarre is that there appear to be ALOT of kids with Autism now.  I dont remember there being so many kids with autism years ago.  I can start a new topic on this.

Yes please do start that as a new topic!  I work in the field of special education and have worked with a lot of autistic kids so I've got some input on that.  :)

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