FC: ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS | Pills and Capsules, Date Unknown, Photographer Christian Weigel from Corbis | by Amy Hastings
1: The use of prescription medications is to create an altered state, to get high or for reasons or by people other than the ones that are intended by the prescribing doctor. Prescription drug abuse is when a person takes a medication without a prescription, other than prescribed or to get a "high." People are abusing prescription drugs by using the medications for their intended purpose, but in much larger quantities than allowed. Some people use them to get high and administer them through a different route by breaking, crushing or snorting the medications. Some people believe that prescription drugs are safer than using illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroine. This is not true. Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. The scary thing about prescription drugs is that they are much easier and cheaper to obtain. Prescription drugs can be very dangerous. They can have many short and long term consequences to the bodies of users. When used incorrectly by a person, prescription drugs can be extremely harmful and sometimes deadly. All medications have undesirable side effects. Sometimes these side effects can be serious. That is why these prescription drugs are only supposed to be taken when administered and monitored by a medical doctor. Prescription drugs have the capability of affecting the body in many different ways. The purpose of doctor prescribing these medications is that the benefits and risks to the patient must be weighed before they can be given to a patient. Other factors are considered when a doctor prescribes medicine, such as age, weight, and medical history. The doctor also considers the form of the drug, the dosage, the side effects and the risk for addiction. | Jar of White Pills, Date unknown, Photographer 145, Ocean/Corbis | COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS IN THE UNITED STATES: Pain Relievers 5.5 million Tranquilizers 2.2 million Stimulants 1.1 million Sedatives 0.4 million
2: Teenagers are a common victim of abusing prescription drugs. In the United States everyday, 2000 teenagers use prescription drugs for the first time. THe average age for these 2000 first time users are between the ages of 12-17 years old. In the 2012 Monitoring the Future survey, prescription and over the counter drugs were the most commonly abused drugs by twelfth graders. Prescription drugs ranked the highest over alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. THe youth who were using prescription drugs were also found to be more likely to use other drugs in the future. Why do teenagers feel the need to use prescription drugs? Teenagers are using prescription drugs to party, get high, "manage" or "regulate" their lives. They are using them to have a good time, treat pain or to help them in school. | Teen Prescription Drug Abuse, Date unknown, Photographer 2, Ocean/Corbis
3: Researchers at the Parternship at Drugfree.org have found that 1 in 5 teens say that they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it.
4: Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain relievers, depressants and stimulants. OxyContin and Vicodin are commonly used pain relievers. Xanax and Valium are commonyl used central nervous system depressants. Concerta and Adderall are commonly used stimulants. Some people also abuse over the counter medications such as DXM, which is a common ingredient found in cough suppressant medication. Drugs like Ritalin are used to focus and for energy. OxyContin and Xanax are used to cope with academic, social and economic stress. Amphetamines are used to lose weight and steroids are used to help guys bulk up. Abusing stimulant medications can lead to paranoia, high body temperatures and irregular heart beats. Opiads that are abused, can lead to drowsiness, nausea, constipation and slowed breathing. Depression medications can cause slurred speech, shallow breath, fatigue, disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures. Abuse of any of these kinds of prescription medication can result in addiction. All of these types of prescription medications have powerful effects on the brain and on the body. Although they are believed to be safer than illegal drugs, they are not. They are just as dangerous. They are often viewed as safer because they are regulated and prescribed by doctors, but they can be harmful, addicting and deadly. Prescription medications have become increasingly popular over the last decade. They are much easier to access than illegal drugs, since so many people in the United States are prescribed these drugs every single day. In the 2012 Monitoring the Future survey, the majority of the teenagers said that they get their drugs from friends or relatives. They often just take them from the medicine cabinet without anyone even realizing it. The survey also said that fifty percent of the high school seniors said that opiod drugs were fairly easy or very easy to get.
5: Teenage Girl on the Floor with Pills, Date Unknown, KG-Photography, KG-Photography/Corbis
6: The rates for drug overdose in the United States have tripled since 1990. These rates are currently extremely high and have never been higher. This is an huge problem facing our society today. In 2008, more than 14,800 people died from prescription drug overdose. More than 100 people a day in our country die everyday from taking prescription drugs. For every 1 prescription drug overdose death, there are 10 people who enter a treatment facility, 32 are seen in Emergency rooms, 130 people are abusing or dependent on the pills, and 825 are non medical users. In 2010, 2 million people were reported using prescription painkillers non medically for the first time. That is nearly 5,500 per day. The use of prescription drugs is not bound by geographical, racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. | CAUSE OF DEATH Prescription Drugs = 45% Street Drugs = 39% | Teenage Girl (13-15) Pouring out pills, view through medicine cabinet, Date unknown, Photographer 2, Ocean/Corbis, 42-25753528
8: Why is there such a high rate for abusers of prescription drugs? The reasons are the misconceptions about prescription drugs safety, the increased availability and varied motivation by users. There are many misconceptions about prescription drugs. People believe that since the medications are prescribed, that they are safe under any circumstance. Prescription drugs have the same direct and indirect effects on the brain that illegal drugs have. These effects can lead to a wide range of health problems including overdose and addiction. The increased availability of these prescription drugs is another reason for the increased use in today's society. Between 1991- 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to 45 million. Prescriptions for opioids increased from 75.5 million to 209.5 million. Most users of prescription drugs report that they get the pills from family or friends, with or without their permission. Very few report needing to purchase the pills illegally. The varied motivations behind using prescription drugs is another reason for the increase in usage. There are a wide range of reasons that people feel like they should abuse prescription pills. Whether it is to concentrate, to stay up later, to help with depression or to control their weight. Prescription drug abuse has become increasingly popular among teenagers in the United States. Pharm parties are the new trend with teenagers. Pharm parties are short for pharmaceutical parties where drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin are used. Teenagers create bowls and baggies or random pills, known as trail mix. Participants of there parties have even started creating and sharing recipes of pill concoctions to get high on. Prescription drug overdoses make up 25 percent of Emergency room visits.
9: Closeup of pills in a cocktail glass, 42-35360367, Date unknown, CWP Photographer, CWP and Corbis | Pills in Baking Cups, Date Unknown, Paul Linse, Corbis and Rights Managed