WHAT IS PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE?Prescription drug abuse isthe deliberate misuse ofprescribed medications.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OFDRUGS COMMONLY ABUSED?There are three types ofprescription drugs commonlyabused. Narcotic painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin) Sedatives and tranquilizers (Xanax,Valium) Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall)
WHY IS PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE TRENDING?Prescription drug abuse is growing because... There is an overwhelming availability of prescription drugs, as more and more people are needing them to treat their ailments. Since 1990, prescription drug sales have increased by nearly 400 percent (DiConsiglio). Many people believe that prescription drugs are “safe” to abuse because they are not illegal and are prescribed by doctors. According to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), half of all teens do not believe that abusing prescription drugs is too risky (DiConsiglio).
THINGS PEOPLE HAVE ACTUALLY SAIDABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE...“My brother was not selling, making, distributingdrugs and was not a criminal. He was able to doctorhop and was able to get painkillers. Pharmacies didntask questions, nor did doctors” (Drug Abuse Stories)."A doctor handed them out--maybe not to me, but tosomebody," she says. "At some level, that kind ofjustiﬁed in my head that it was OK to take thedrugs" (DiConsiglio).
HOW PREVALENT ISPRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE?According to MedLine Plus, a website managed by theU.S. National Library of Medicine, an estimated 20percent of Americans have misused prescriptiondrugs.Only marijuana is more popular when it comes toteenagers’ preferred drug choice (DiConsiglio).
HOW DOES PRESCRIPTIONDRUG ABUSE AFFECT SOCIETY?Prescription drug abuse is very costly, for bothgovernment and the individual. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs has resulted in 0.5 million emergency room visits in 2004 and 1 million in 2008. This translates into a cost of nearly $18 billion (Sperling). Prescription drugs sold on the street or through illegal “pill mills” (often disguised as “pain clinics”) sell in the same illicit ways and at the same exorbitant prices (Sperling).
HOW DOES PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE AFFECT A PERSON’S HEALTH?When prescription drugs are abused, their effects can be just as harmful as those of illegal street drugs. Many pills have different potencies (DiConsiglio). For example, an 80 mg pill of OxyContin is much stronger than is a 20 mg pill of OxyContin. Most people disregard this nuance when they are getting high. Many teen users participate in “pharming,” or using prescription drugs like they would street drugs (snorting, injecting, etc.). When mixed with alcohol and other drugs, legal or illegal, their effects can be fatal (DiConsiglio).
PRE-21ST CENTURY CONNECTIONS?The unforgettable counterculturemovement! During the counterculture movement of the 1960s, many young people began experimenting with different drugs, such as LSD (street name “acid”) and marijuana.Post-Vietnam Many soldiers who had come back from the Vietnam War had become drug addicts in Vietnam, where drugs were relatively cheap and easy to obtain.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OFPRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE?According to the International Narcotics Board ofthe World Health Organization and the UnitedNations, prescription drug abuse is expected toexceed illicit drug use (“Prescription drug abuse”).
The Answer (Thesis): Prescription drug abuse is arapidly growing epidemic that is just as harmful, if not deadlier, than illicit drug use.
SOURCESPrimaryDiConsiglio, John. "Generation Rx: theyre prescribed by doctors and theyre probably in your own house. But those factors dont make prescription drugs safe. Even legaldrugs can be addictive--and deadly." Scholastic Choices Jan. 2010: 8+. General OneFile. Web. 16 May 2011."Drug Abuse Stories - Montana Prescription Drug Abuse - MT Dept of Justice." Home - Montana Dept of Justice. Montana Department of Justice. Web. 12 May 2011.<http://www.doj.mt.gov/rxabuse/stories.asp>.SecondaryDiConsiglio, John. "Generation Rx: theyre prescribed by doctors and theyre probably in your own house. But those factors dont make prescription drugs safe. Even legaldrugs can be addictive--and deadly." Scholastic Choices Jan. 2010: 8+. General OneFile. Web. 16 May 2011 (contains both ﬁrst-hand testimonials and secondary sourceinformation)."Prescription drug abuse linked to increased availability of pain meds." Brown University Psychopharmacology Update20.2 (2009): 1+. General OneFile. Web. 16 May 2011."Prescription Drug Abuse: MedlinePlus." National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prescriptiondrugabuse.html>.Sperling, Laura. "Price of Prescription Abuse | HeraldTribune.com." HeraldTribune.com. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100924/COLUMNIST/9241002?p=1>.Images: images.google.com