California Fights Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become a serious problem in the U.S. and California is leading the way in putting this to a stop. Most people do not realize how much of a problem prescription drug abuse has really become. Our lives are busy and no one wants to complicate theirs by thinking about something that does not directly affect them. A person addicted to prescription drugs did not intend to get that way. Sure, they started out following the doctor’s orders, but when the pain came back earlier or the anxiety just would not go away, it was too easy to take another pill. These people would tell themselves that it would get better tomorrow while in reality they compounded their problems by taking more pills and depending on an artificial crutch to get them through the day, the week, and even the month. Eventually, people who abuse prescription drugs have to get more pills from their doctor or from another doctor. The situation can escalate as their body…

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Opana: The New Painkiller of Choice to Abuse

Oxymorphone, known most commonly as Opana, is a powerful painkiller of the opioid variety that is available in extended-release and instant-release form. Opana is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning it has approved medicinal qualities but also has a high potential for abuse. Opana is a very long lasting drug, which is another reason why people are choosing to abuse it instead of other prescription painkillers. Opana, when injected by its abusers, can be responsible for causing a fatal blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This disorder, which may result in kidney failure and death, imposes a limit on blood flow to organs by forming clots that form in small blood vessels. However, kidney failure is not the only risk that is carried with this disorder. The disorder also causes a person to be at a higher risk for getting a stroke or brain damage. As the popularity of prescription painkiller abuse has risen, more people now die from prescription drug abuse than from heroin and…

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OxyContin: The Crouching Tiger

The abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin by the younger generation is a growing concern for society. The drug gives the user a sense of euphoria, replacing anxiety with sleepy relaxation -- a relaxed high if you will. One out of ten seniors in high school seniors have admitted to using narcotic painkillers to get high, and when it comes to OxyContin, the number seems to be increasing among the youth. The drug provides an experience that is attracting an increasing amount of users. It is looked at as a "party" drug instead of an extremely addictive substance. The public’s flawed belief in what an addict looks and acts like is thought to be a factor in the growing number OxyContin users and its acceptance among the younger population. One of the especially troubling things about this addiction is the ease of use for the addicts; the fact that the effects are not immediately noticeable. As a result, the young people who are using it don’t see the harmful…

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Newborn Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

One of the saddest facts about prescription drug abuse is that a pregnant mother who abuses medicine will pass the effects to her unborn child. Unfortunately, it has become more and more common for newborn babies to be born addicted to prescription medications like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2009, more than 13,500 infants were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS); this translates to approximately one such birth every hour. A recent New York Times article tells the story of one child that was only a few days old and had to be placed on methadone because his withdrawal symptoms were so severe. His mother abused OxyContin in the early stages of her pregnancy without her doctor's knowledge. She tried to quit while pregnant but became so ill that the survival of her unborn child was in doubt. Her doctor prescribed methadone for the duration of her pregnancy. After his birth, her son was placed on the same drug. Babies that are born…

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One of Many Overdose Deaths

Tyler Macleod was a young man that was well-liked by everyone and had a full life ahead of him. Unfortunately, will never have the future he deserves thanks to an addiction to heroin that took his life. Everyone wanted to be Tyler's friend, he was fun loving and loved the beaches and surfing. During adolescence, Tyler started experiencing symptoms of depression and began smoking marijuana. His parents tried to help him by transferring him to a new school but that did not keep the addiction from growing. After receiving a phone call from a school counselor that informed his parents that he was using harder drugs, Tyler's parents took him to drug rehab program and made him attend narcotics anonymous meetings daily. This helped for a while but soon his parents started to find foil and needles which made them know that he was smoking and injecting the drug. Tyler's parents did everything that they knew to do and loved their son so much they would have done anything…

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Doctors Prescribing Opioids Facing Double Edged Sword

Though it may seem surprising to some, it turns out most doctors dealing with prescription dependent patients are at some level aware of their patient’s addiction problems and prescription abuse. Ana Lembke, a California addiction psychiatrist, specifically cites an example of opioid prescriptions meant to address muscle pain being overused by a patient to the tune of 1,200 pills in one month. CURES, Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, was put in place in California to monitor patient prescriptions and deter these kinds of abuses. However, as Lembke explains, doctors often face a choice between being morally irresponsible in giving addicted patients opioid prescriptions and being medically irresponsible in not providing adequate treatment for a potentially real physical pain being suffered by the patient.  The problem is further compounded by increased media attention on this growing problem and the rise of prescription painkiller overdoses as the leading cause of death for addicts. The Doctor's Dilemma Doctors often feel they are ostracized as villains by a public that does…

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Heroin Overdose is Just the Tip of Southern California’s Drug Problem

This past Wednesday, Carlie Coulter, age 22, died of a heroin overdose. She had been struggling with addiction since the age of 18. Her family is now joining with other parents out there to try to help end this surge of drug related deaths in younger people in Southern California. Heroin is becoming an epidemic in the area, not just on the streets, but among middle and upper class youngsters too. While many kids start out with prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Xanax or Klonopin, heroin offers a much cheaper high.Smokeable heroin allows users to get high without having to deal with needles. The LA County Sheriff’s office reports that there have been at least six heroin overdose deaths since August 2011. There is no word as to whether these were injectable or smokeable heroin though, or any other information on the victims. According to Cary Quashen, founder of Action Family Counseling and Action a Parent and Teen Support Program, “we've lost more than a dozen Santa Clarita kids…

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An Inside Look at Prescription Drug Abuse

The economic conditions over the past few years have caused a high level of financial and emotional stress for millions of people. In order to cope with this increased level of stress, many people have self medicated with alcohol and prescription drugs. Although adult alcohol abuse has been a common problem in this country for a long time, the number of people abusing prescription drugs really started increasing in the last several years. In the state of California for example, prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels. The fallout has included police raids involving hundreds of large illegal prescription drug operations. One particular raid that involved a medical clinic in west Los Angeles, resulted in the recovery of thousands of prescription pills and evidence of over twenty three million dollars of fraudulent sales. Prevention (of the Addiction) is the Best Medicine In order to deal with this epidemic, there needs to be continued police efforts in shutting down illegal drug operations, but there also needs to be strong efforts…

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Fentanyl and Suboxone – The Evolution of Drug Abuse and Addiction

A new and controversial detox drug utilized in major rehab centers today is buprenorphine which is better known as Suboxone. Touted as the "new methadone," this powerful, synthetic opiate is prescribed to patients with chronic pain and drug addiction problems. Ironically, both Suboxone and methadone are also addictive, just as heroin and other medications like Vicodin and Oxycotin are. Suboxone is expensive and extremely difficult to obtain from a physician. A person usually has to be a patient of a substance abuse specialist or a pain management doctor to get a prescription. The average cost for a month's prescription of Suboxone is approximately $200-$700. When used for detox purposes, gradual withdrawal of the drug is necessary to prevent negative side effects such as seizures, cramps, diarrhea, fever and chills, vomiting, and nausea. This sublingual narcotic was approved by the FDA in 2002. Rehab for Suboxone Addiction Because of the physically and psychological addictive properties of Suboxone, there are now detox and rehab clinics especially for opiate dependent patients who…

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Pills to Heroin: An Increasingly Common but Deadly Path

Small towns across the U.S. are seeing an increase in heroin use. The cause is dwindling supplies of the prescription narcotic oxycodone. Oxycodone, which is sold under brand names like Oxycontin, Oxyneo, Percocet, and Percodan, is a powerful synthetic opioid derived from the papaver somniferum, or opium poppy plant. While oxycodone is legitimately prescribed for moderate to severe pain, it is also sold on the black market as a recreational drug. Powerful and addictive, regular users of oxycodone can quickly become addicted. An opiate addict becomes physically ill within hours after their last dose, prompting them to seek out more drugs to avoid withdrawal. With the rising costs of prescription drugs, users of oxycodone are turning to heroin to find a cheaper way to maintain their habits. Any drug of the opiate class can be substituted for one another to stave off withdrawal symptoms. For many, switching to heroin is simple economics. In some parts of the country, a single Oxycontin pill containing 80 milligrams of oxycodone can cost…

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