Generation Rx

Prescription drug abuse is nondiscriminatory. It can affect anyone who makes even just one bad choice.  Today, we see a good decrease in teen rates in use of marijuana, smoking, alcohol, and other illicit drug use. However, there is a rise in teens abusing prescription drugs as well as over the counter drugs.

My first experience in exposure to the abuse of medication and prescription drugs was in my senior statistics class. I over heard some of my class mates talking about how they had drank large amounts of nyquill at night to knock them out or to get a momentary high. They called it getting hyped up on the “Q”.  As I sat quite naively in my class, I thought they were making a joke and were simply thinking on their feet of how to mimick the “drunken” or “high” sensation they experienced every Friday night when they would go party with their friends. Now, I realize that that was a very real concern. I have no idea how powerful ny-quill is, but an dose or prescribed amount beyond what is directed is too much. It is only one step closer to going bigger and closer to addiction.

This is a growing problem with teens.The graph below shows the rates of teens that the substances they use and abuse. You’ll see that Pain relievers stretch beyond the other illicit drugs.

I really like this clip because it highlights and interview with a young man who experienced prescription drug abuse and he has a very important message for teens.

Don’t even start. No matter how great that one night may be…it’s not worth it.


Celebrity Deaths…

We all know these faces. We mostly all know that they are dead and earlier than anticipated.  Celebrities influence the public through many different ways. They sing to us, market to us,  and and entertain us. Often, they are percieved as untouchable or invincible, when in reality, they struggle, have pain and problems just like everyone else.  The reason for death among celebrities has been drug over dose, specifically prescription drug overdose, has been on the rise and also consistent throughout history. You can find a complete list of celebrities, their age, and what drugs/drug combinations killed them.

Beauty, talent, or prestige does not discriminate or does not mean that they are unable to become addicted or abuse prescriptions drugs. Prescription drug abuse is nondiscriminatory.


The Pill Withdrawal

It is so wonderful for those who are addicted to prescription drugs and other drugs to break free from drugs after deciding it is ruining their life. It is important for them to be able to recognize the “pill withdrawal” in order to avoid relapsing.

Relapsing can be a very frustrating and very detrimental experience for struggling addicts. Often, unforseen emotion and physical stress can instill a relapse.

A recovered prescription drug abuser advises for those who are working to recover write everything down. Actively keep a journal. It can not only distract your mind, but allow you to see your sucess and boost self efficacy.

Some of the symptoms of the pill withdrawal include:

-constant discomfort                 -deep depression

– social isolation                          -irritable

Many people are seeking to overcome their addiction and often place their stories online on youtube to gain support to get off the many prescription drugs they are addicted to. Some might find success in this method, but often the power requires more than a simple video posting.


Pill Parties

I learned about the popularity of “Pill Parties”/ “Pharm Parties”  in one of my recent classes at BYU. I had never heard of them before, but the most commonly involve teens that raid their cabinets and bring pills from their home and hoard all their pills and the friends of their pills and then proceed to mix and match different types of pills in order to create a that seemingly “legal high”.  Talk about a perfect mix for disaster.

This dangerous behavior is putting many teens at risk who may not know that there is very little difference in mixing and taking pharmaceutical drugs and snuffing marijuana.

Once again, I would like to highlight the importance of cleaning out your cabinet and properly disposing of them so they are absolutely unavailable to anyone.

These “parties” are growing in popularity and are spattered all over the news, all over the country.


What to do if you Child is addicted….

It is very important that parents are involved in their child’s life, not only to reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse, but to also be clued in to the possiblities of their child engaging in prescription drug abuse. Parents may not know where to turn or what are the signals for addiction. Here are some questions and clue ins. 42-17421528

How do I know if my child is abusing prescription drugs?
Mood swings and unpredictable behavior are sometimes evidence of teenage “growing pains,” but they can also point to use of alcohol or other drugs. Be aware of any unexplained changes.

Some of the symptoms of prescription drug abuse are:

  • Opioids or narcotic pain relievers may cause
    drowsiness, nausea, constipation, confusion, slowed
    breathing, and sometimes cause severe respiratory
    depression and death.
  • Stimulants can cause nervousness, insomnia, reduced
    appetite, and weight loss, and increases in heart rate,
    blood pressure, and energy.
  • Depressants can cause slowed pulse and breathing,
    lowered blood pressure, poor concentration,
    fatigue, confusion, and impaired coordination,
    memory, and judgment.
  • Signs that your child may be using alcohol or other drugs are:
  • Association with a new group of friends
    that concern you or that you don’t know.
  • Grades are slipping.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports,
    or other favorite activities.
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Lack of personal grooming.
  • Hostile, uncooperative behavior.
  • Frequently late for curfew.
  • Red-rimmed eyes and a runny nose,
    but no allergies or a cold.
  • Household money, prescription drugs or
    cough medicines are disappearing.teaching-kids-about-drugs

Rehabilitation Options

The rehabilitation centers all over the nation recognize that prescription drug abuse is an addictive behavior; thus many centers invite those who are addicted to prescriptions to come to their center to detox their lives from their addictions.

Many offer messages of hope and helps them carefully out of their living terror.

Rehabilitation centers are usually in calm beautiful areas of the country and are held within beautiful buildings.

Patients can either be out patients or in patients. Average costs can be close to $7000 per month as in patient, but more and more rehabilitation centers are accepting insurance.


Personal Stories….

I think I personally feel kind of removed from this prescription drug abuse problem in Utah. I live in BYU student housing and I have never personally known anyone affected or addicted to prescription drugs.

It really does happen to a lot of people.  I ran into this website that told stories about recovery. But just as a warning, It’s a real tear jerker.

Michael- age 20, said this about his choice to recover from his addiction:

“I have to make the decision everyday not to do drugs. At this point I either choose life or death. Its that simple. If I want to achieve what I would like out of life, then I have to control myself. Otherwise I will die.”

Other heart renching stories mimick the same  Pattern as this individual:

How did you become addicted?
  I started taking Percocet after having gall bladder surgery four years ago. When I ran out I didn’t take anymore and went through the worst five days of my life. Of course, at the time I didn’t know it was withdrawals. Shortly after that, I had thyroid surgery and was prescribed Demoral for pain. From there it just grew; anything I could get my hands on was fine. I have stolen pain medication from my mother, my in-laws and my husband. Got it by doctor shopping or whatever I needed to do.
Your turning point? (What made you choose recovery?)
  My husband soon caught on to my dependency and was very angry. Although, he has so far stayed with me through this, I believe that he had about had enough. I also began to realize what a different person it made of me. When I would start coming down off my last dose, if I didn’t take more very soon I was awful to people around me, which included my nine year old daughter, who didn’t understand what was going on with me at all. I finally decided I don’t want to live this way anymore and I am determined to quit and never go back.
Tell us about your recovery.
  I just began recovery last week and I’ve only seen my counselor once. Right now I am trying to wean myself off of Vicodan a little at a time in hopes that the withdrawals aren’t so bad.
Your advice to others?
  I know that sometimes people need pain relief, but please follow the doctors instructions and if you believe that you are becoming addicted, please seek help right away. Believe me, it only gets worse if you don’t. I was so ashamed to tell anyone that I had a problem that I kept putting it off and putting it off until I finally almost lost everything.

I felt like the problem was more real after hearing about young teenagers, mom’s with young children, and husbands.  helpinghand

My hope is that all those who struggle with addiction can find their helping hand.