Are Prescription Drugs from the Streets Safe?
It can be easy to think of a prescription drug as less harmful than a street drug. Prescription meds do not always carry the same “dirty” connotation as drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, or heroin, even though there are many prescription drugs. They look safe enough—little uniform pills, packaged neatly, prescribed by a legitimate doctor. It gives the appearance of a substance that is okay to consume. But unless medication is specifically yours, it is illegal to possess or consume it, and above all, dangerous.
So the short answer is no, it’s not safe to use prescriptions that are not from your doctor. And even if you have legally obtained a drug, there is the potential for abuse.
But as with all things related to drugs and substance abuse, the topic is complex. People have different reasons for using a non-prescribed medication, such as addressing legitimate illness or the unavailability of other drugs due to cost or scarcity. There are several essential things to know about why people misuse prescription drugs. Understanding the potential dangers can help you avoid harming your body or becoming hooked on a substance. Call us today at (614)502-6247. Our experts are here to help you.
People Buy Prescription Drugs on the Street
Prescription drugs can cause a problem in the U.S. The country is in the middle of an opioid crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of lives lost or destroyed; many of them in the last decade. Misuse of prescribed amphetamines, painkillers, and sleep medication are all-too-common, and prescription drugs are everywhere. Open any random medicine cabinet, and you have a good chance of finding at least a few orange and white bottles. Someone might try to acquire prescription drugs illegally for a number of reasons. Not all people who seek out drugs are using them just to get high.
A Need to Function
Students take Adderall to help them stay alert in class or get through mid-term exams. Someone might seek out painkillers to help deal with an unreported, nagging injury. Or a person who needs to lose weight may try using uppers or amphetamines to suppress their appetite. In some situations, it can come down to trying to fit in with a group of peers. Some people use it in order to feel less anxious or stressed-out in social situations or at the workplace. If you know someone that is suffering from an addiction to painkillers, then call us today. Even if that someone is you. Our specialists will be able to work with you and find the proper treatment for you today.
Accessibility to Prescription Drugs
Depending on where a person lives, certain prescription drugs may be more easily available than street drugs. It might even be a money matter, where a prescription drug costs less than drugs obtained from a dealer—so they see it as a logical choice.
Obtaining meds from close sources like family members or friends further complicates the issue of drug abuse. It may be easy to convince someone you know that they would be helping you out by sharing their medication. Especially if no money is changing hands, this downplays the action. However, the persons involved are still breaking the law and potentially enabling an addict.
Rationalization does not make the use of someone else’s prescription drugs any less dangerous or illegal. A drug does not care why you are using it, it simply acts as intended on your brain and your body. And while not all drugs in the marketplace are prone to abuse, anything taken without a prescription carries possible health risks.
Hazardous Side Effects of Prescription Drugs
All drugs have at least some side effects, and these can vary from person to person. Some are quite severe, and the potential for an adverse reaction significantly increases if the meds are not your own. Prescriptions are tailored to every individual. A doctor will diagnose the condition first, then decide what medication and dosage to use. Patients are encouraged to follow up and report any adverse side effects to ensure they are taking the right drug in the right way. Taking these drugs without a doctor would be a misuse of prescription drugs.
None of these protective measures are in place if you are obtaining drugs elsewhere. If you need assistance dealing with the effects of prescription drugs, then call us today. We will be able to help you start a healthier life today.
Some of the most abused prescription drugs are:
Opioids are extremely risky and are discussed in more detail in the next section. These are painkillers such as oxycodone, Dilaudid, and fentanyl. Misuse can result in coma or death. Other potential effects are severe mood swings, respiratory issues, and a decrease in cognitive function. They are especially dangerous due to their highly addictive nature.
These drugs excite the body and are widely abused. Stimulants include amphetamines and ADHD drugs. They cause a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and increased body temperature; they can also lead to seizures or even heart failure. Confusion, sleeplessness, and extreme irritability are also common side effects.
Depressants slow the body down. This group includes widely used prescriptions like Valium, Xanax, and Luminal. Excessive use can end in seizures or catastrophic heart failure. Abusers frequently experience severe mood swings and listlessness, as well as a slowed heartbeat. Taking prescription medications without medical supervision can have disastrous results. It is also important to remember that the negative effects of any drug intensify when you mix it with alcohol or other drugs.
Know someone dealing with the dangerous side effects of painkillers? Then call us today. We will be happy to assist you in getting the right care that you need for your situation. Do not wait until it is too late. Call us today and you can start on a healthier path soon.
The Opioid Dilemma
“Over the past 10 years or so, prescription opioids, meaning medical opioids that are diverted, have more or less replaced heroin among street drug users,” says Benedict Fischer, director of the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction in Vancouver, BC. Opioids pose one of the most significant drug-related threats in the U.S. right now. Statistics show that over 47,000 deaths in 2017 were connected to opioid use.
The misuse of this class of drugs carries potentially lethal consequences. Yet doctors have been prescribing opiates more and more often during the last few years, and abuse is increasingly common among high schoolers and the elderly. The fact is that many prescriptions are ending up in the wrong hands. One reason for this is the highly addictive nature of opiates. Many addictions begin with legitimate prescriptions for pain, because even small doses of these medications can be enough to get a user hooked.
Opioids work by attaching themselves to receptors in the brain, keeping them from receiving pain messages. This also creates feelings of euphoria, which is why many people end up chasing the drug. In recent years, abuse of OxyContin and oxycodone abuse has spiked. Vicodin and Demerol serve similar purposes and can be equally dangerous. One of the biggest threats of street opioid use is that the drug is sometimes mixed with Fentanyl, another pain reliever. But Fentanyl, even in the smallest doses, can bring about an overdose or death. It is 100 times more potent than other legitimate medications and 50 times stronger than heroin. Even one improperly mixed pill in a batch can be a death sentence.
Opioid use can also lead to the use of other, similarly acting drugs. Many opioid users end up turning to street drugs like heroin.
Other Key Factors of Prescription Drugs
Something else to consider when buying prescriptions outside of a pharmacy: you don’t really know what you’re getting. There could be a mixture of pills in the bottle or it could be mislabeled entirely.
There is no regulation in the world of street drugs and no return policy. The pills you’re getting could be cut with goods such as baking powder, or dangerous additives like toxic cleaning supplies. In fact, the drugs you’re acquiring may not even be what the seller says they are. Don’t forget, drug dealers lie, and they have no interest in your personal safety or welfare. You are rolling the dice when you take this route.
Aside from the direct side effects, drug abuse comes with many other potential negatives. Drug users are more likely to commit crimes, end up in jail, or pursue their fix in illegal ways. Remember that you can be arrested and charged for purchasing or possessing unlicensed prescription meds. This is not to mention the personal and financial toll addiction can take on your life. Drugs take a toll on the mind. Users run the risk of alienating friends and family as well as losing jobs and careers. And if your roll of the dice should end in hospitalization or death, imagine the pain and turmoil your loved ones will go through.
You may also end up in and out of rehab and could spend the rest of your life fighting the desire to use. If you are ready for steady rehab treatments, call us today. Our team of professionals will help you find the right treatment options for you.
Is It Worth It?
Take the combined factors into consideration. The physical danger of the drugs on their own, the risk of addiction, the potentially deadly side effects. Think about the possibility of getting caught and suddenly having a criminal record, or even adding to an existing one. Consider the emotional pain you may cause yourself and others.
Rolling the dice with prescription drug addiction is simply not worth it. These medications are aimed at helping people who are ill, and using them for an unintended purpose can easily backfire in a variety of ways. Consider asking yourself why you are seeking out illegal prescription drugs in the first place. Is it to feel good? To feel like you fit in? To escape life?
No matter the reason, there are many healthier and safer things you can do to alleviate the stresses of life. Substance abuse is substance abuse, and while prescription medication may appear safer than a street drug, the reality is that some of them are even more dangerous. If you are worried about someone abusing prescription drugs, call us today. Our experts are standing by, and are ready to help you start your happier, sober, and healthier life.