Prescription Drug Proposal Highlights Dangers of Hydrocodone
Category: News Tags: , prescription painkiller abuse, teen prescription drug abuse
The rise of the popularity of prescription drugs has led many experts to wonder if the regulations surrounding those medications need to be heightened. Emergency departments are reporting high numbers of overdose cases involving medications prescribed for pain, anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
For teens, prescription drugs are a convenient way to experiment with achieving a high. The drugs are readily available in the family medicine cabinet and the teens have witnessed their parents or other family members taking the medication without any serious consequences.
However, as described in an article appearing in The Press Enterprise, a local news site for Southern California, users of prescription drugs often underestimate the side effects that can occur and the consequences of recreational drug use.
The drugs are often prescribed by a doctor initially for a legitimate pain problem, such as chronic pain associated with an injury or a disease. However, the patient may find that the drug quickly loses its effectiveness unless the dose is increased. Before long, the patient is taking more and more of the medication to ease their pain and they eventually develop an addiction.
In another situation, a young person rummages through his parents’ medicine cabinet because he is invited to a party and heard that guests were expected to bring a variety of pills. The pills would be dumped in a communal bowl, where partygoers could grab unique combinations to try, hoping to reach a different type of high.
In still another scenario, a student might ask a friend with ADHD for a pill from their prescription. The drugs used to treat ADHD, like Adderall and Ritalin, can help the user to focus and avoid sleeping for days, if necessary. For the student with a heavy academic load and a job, the temptation to take what appears to be the solution to his problems is enormous.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that the most commonly-abused prescription drug is hydrocodone. The drug is a popular choice for treatment of chronic pain. However, the DEA wants to increase regulations for the drug, putting it in the category of other easily-abused drugs, such as codeine or morphine.
When teenagers use hydrocodone, they may experience effects that are similar to those that occur with alcohol. It can numb pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional. When a teenager overdoses on hydrocodone, there may be serious effects, such as a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing and disorientation.
When friends’ and relatives’ medicine cabinets have been thoroughly pilfered, the user may try to procure the drug in other ways. They may choose to pay up to $80 for one pill, or they may switch to heroin or another street drug. Unlike prescription drugs, heroin is easily obtained and is cheap.
For these reasons, the DEA is seeking to have potent painkillers more carefully regulated. Parents can help, too. Parents should lock up all prescription drugs and carefully monitor the number of pills that are in a bottle of painkillers. They should also never allow their child to take their prescription medication unsupervised. The temptation to sneak an extra pill for use or to sell to a friend may be hard for a teen to resist.