Killer Prescription Drugs: An Infographic
Prescription Drugs are Killers
Doctors prescribe medications for pain, illnesses, and chronic conditions. When used appropriately, medications provide relief from health concerns. Unfortunately, many prescription drugs are misused and might lead to an addiction. Prescription drug addiction is a potentially deadly affliction.
Basics of Prescription Abuse
The abuse of prescription drugs refers to the use of medications in any way that differs from the directions of the doctor. In most cases, the drug is taken recreationally or is used to obtain a feeling of pleasure. Some individuals with a prescription might accidentally abuse the drugs by taking more than the doctor suggests.
Many Americans, roughly 7 million, take prescription medications recreationally or in a way that deviates from the directions of a doctor each year. In most cases, opiate pain relievers are the drug of choice for recreational use. Some individuals will also take drugs with a stimulant effect or that cause feelings of relaxation through sedation.
Facts About Prescription Drug Use in America
The abuse of prescription medications is a serious problem in America. Almost half a million individuals, around 475,000, are hospitalized due to problems related to the abuse of medications and nearly 5,500 Americans begin taking medications in an inappropriate manner every day. When the drugs are taken in any way that deviates from the directions of a doctor, then it can cause problems with health. Even drugs taken as prescribed can be problematic – read our article about prescription addiction to learn more.
Taking medication without medical supervision is dangerous. The abuse of drugs causes several deaths each year from taking too much, detoxifying the body, or accidents that happen as a result of the drug-related effects.
Dangers to Young Adults
The use of prescription drugs is a serious problem for young adults and teenagers. Prescription medications are given for pain, emotional health concerns, and other health problems to parents, friends, or even the young adult, which makes the medications accessible. Nearly 70 percent of young adults using the prescriptions were given drugs by family or friends. Many teenage students have abused medications by taking prescriptions without the supervision of a doctor.
Many 12th grade students in America have abused medications. Prescription pain relievers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, are misused by many young adults. Roughly 1 out of 12 young adults have taken Vicodin inappropriately while 1 out of 20 have misused Oxycontin.
Young individuals do not realize the dangers to their health. The medications are taken for the euphoric effect or the belief that the drug improves brain function. Young adults do not always consider the risks associated with the medications.
Risks of Drug Abuse
Prescription medications have risks. While the impact of the drugs can vary, every individual who takes medication inappropriately will face some risks. The common risks include:
- Hospitalization from taking too much
- Health concerns when trying to quit
- Becoming infected with blood-borne illnesses
- Physical dependence
- Problems with the heart
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Seeing and hearing things that are not present
Taking drugs inappropriately can lead to serious complications. In some cases, taking the drugs without the supervision of a doctor will result in death. Almost 34,000 deaths each year relate to inappropriate use of medications, which is a greater rate than the number of deaths from car accidents.
Increasing Drug Abuse Problems
The drugs that are misused most often include opiate pain relievers, drugs for anxiety, ADHD medications, and drugs to improve sleep. Misusing prescription medications is a growing problem that is impacting many American families.
The southwestern United States and the Appalachian regions have the greatest impact, particularly in West Virginia and New Mexico. Prescription medication abuse is growing at an alarming rate. The use of drugs for young adults under 25 has increased by 113 percent and the growth of women abusing prescriptions is up 103 percent. Around 75 percent more Caucasian individuals are abusing prescriptions, and the southwestern states have seen an increase in prescription abuse of roughly 113 percent.
Celebrity Struggles with RX Abuse
Several notable celebrities, such as Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, and Brittany Murphy have died as a direct result of taking medications. In most cases, the celebrities died after taking too much of a prescription.
Taking medications inappropriately might result in addiction or problems with health. Fighting the problem will take work, but is possible with the help and support of professionals. Our team can help you, or anyone you know, defeat their addiction to prescription drugs.