prescription drug abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Use

Image Source: NPR

Health Day News recently recounted the findings of the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report proposing that 12 to 49-year-old Americans who admitted illegal prescription drug abuse were 19 times more likely to use heroin in the past 12 months than others in the same age group.

The report continues with astounding statistics on the illegal use of prescription painkillers. Almost 80 percent of new heroin abusers used prescription painkillers illegally prior to their heroin abuse. On a positive note; only 3.6 percent started using heroin within a five-year span.

Key Word: Illegal

In a recent new release, Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality stated, “Prescription pain relievers, when used properly for their intended purpose, can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm and even death. This report shows that it can also greatly increase an individual’s risk of turning to heroin use — thus adding a new dimension of potential harm.”

Prescription drug abuse, even with one’s own prescription, bears many consequences. When prescribing drugs for an individual, medical doctors take many factors into consideration:

• The patient’s age, weight, and medical history
• The proper dose for that individual
• The drug’s possible side effects
• The potential for addiction

Taking and abusing another person’s prescription may interact negatively and cause great harm should these factors not agree with the physical makeup of the person taking them. Prescription drug abuse and sharing prescriptions with friends or relatives is against the law.

Myth: If it’s Prescribed by a Doctor, it’s Safe

Wrong. Prescribed Opioid painkillers will affect the brain the same as heroin; cocaine and prescription stimulants also produce similar effects. Just like street drugs, prescription drugs can produce harmful results physically and mentally if abused.

Right place, right time, right prescription. If the name on the bottle of painkillers is not your own, don’t take them.