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Popping Pills The rise and dangers of prescription drug abuse


by Aisha Sarvana

STAFF WRITER

Everyone complains about how messy a doctor’s handwriting is, but there seems to a growing desire for that little script these days. Today, prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem among adolescents. It has reached the extent to teenagers stealing their parents’ cancer treatment or post-surgery pain medications, crushing them, and snorting them. All this is being done without the parents knowing a thing. Although illegal drug use might be falling, use of the so-called “good drugs” is on a steep rise. Along with this, numerous crimes like murder and robbery are occurring to acquire them.

What exactly accounts as prescription drug abuse? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction”. Common medications for sleep disorders, pain, anxiety, or ADHD are often taken for nonmedical reasons.  Seeing that young people, 12 and older, account for a big portion of this abuse is truly the saddest part.  Addiction, slowed brain functioning, anxiety, paranoia, and seizures are just some of the symptoms or side effects that can be a result of such behavior.

Why is the trend growing? Doctors are prescribing more medications than ever before for medical reasons. Drugs are becoming very easily available.  Another reason for this influx is the implementation of online pharmacies.  With the internet making everything so easily available, ordering medications is just as easy too. Many online pharmacies make it easy to attain drugs without a prescription. This is especially harmful to youngsters, who are typically very internet and computer savvy.  Other online pharmacies just request the prescription to be faxed in, increasing the risk of fraud and or forgery.

The worst part about the growing abuse is the crimes that are linked to it. To imagine that people are robbing and killing each other to attain these medicines is just bizarre. Drug dealers selling prescription drugs sadly are coming to exist in many high schools and that too in multiples.  Arguments between client and dealer too often lead to shootings or slayings. Multiple pharmacy robberies have been reported recently that are carried out by people who are in need of that “quick fix”.

It is extremely important to educate ourselves and differentiate between the right and the wrong. Abusing drugs of any sort is wrong to begin with. But to abuse the medications that our doctors prescribe us for health reasons just takes it to another level. Numerous steps, especially in technology, are being taken to reduce this trend at hand. Simple and easy to open “locked” prescription bottles will not cut it anymore. However, with education and knowledge about the damage and harm that can be done with prescription drug abuse, it will hopefully decline.  It is always important to make the right choice and encourage those around you to do the same.