Millions of Americans have been or are currently taking some form of a prescription drug. Prescriptions for high blood pressure, diabetes, pain, or anxiety or depression are far more common than ever before. What happens when high blood pressure medication is mixed with a drug like meth or mixing anxiety medication with heroin? This happens every day and can have dangerous consequences.
More than 131 million people, 66 percent of all adults in the United States, use some form of prescription drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2017, it was reported that 19.7 million Americans, age 12 and above, have battled with substance abuse. That was four years ago. Research shows that that number is on the rise. About 74% of those adults suffering also struggled with an alcohol abuse disorder. Nonmedical use of the drug Adderall, an ADHD or ADD medications, skyrocketed with teens and college-aged kids. When asked how they obtained the drug it was reported almost 60% replied they got it from a friend or relative. With all this comes the realization that some people out there are mixing their prescription medications with illicit drugs and alcohol. Every prescription bottle comes with warnings on the side of possible reactions or possible side effects. According to the numbers, some Americans are not heeding the warning their doctors and pharmacists are giving. The CDC reports that overdose deaths have tripled since 1999. Drug overdose has surpassed gun-related deaths and fatal car accidents as one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It has been found that, in most cases, two or more drugs are the cause of these overdoses. For example, taking anxiety medication and an opioid-like fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose. Fentanyl is found in most illicit drugs and people are taking it without even knowing. The numbers say that we are incredibly unaware of what we are putting into our bodies and how these substances interact with each other.
What Should I Look Out For?
The reasons for prescription medication misuse vary by age and gender, but one of the biggest reasons is access. Following the massive rise in prescriptions being written, it leaves many dangerous prescription medications available for anyone to take. Young adults and teens, for example, may seek these out in their own homes. They then go out drinking with friends, all the while not knowing there is a deadly cocktail brewing in their bodies. Please, keep your medications in safe places that only you have access to.
Another thing to pay attention to is misinformation. Not clearly understanding the substances you take is setting yourself up for a possibly fatal situation. Being aware that some of these prescriptions are extremely addictive is very important. When discussing what medications you may need- ask your prescribing doctor what possible side effects may follow while taking this drug. Misinformation fueled the opioid epidemic, which we are still battling today. Too many prescriptions were written for drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, or Percocet. After the problem grew too big a lot of those prescriptions were taken away. This left millions of people in a very uncomfortable situation. Some turned to pain management programs. Some went to rehab. Some people turned to other drugs like heroin seeking the “relief” that the high dosage medications were giving them. This fueled the number of addiction to opiates we have not seen before.
Abusing your own prescription can be deadly on its own, as well. If you begin to take more in a day that is prescribed- it is time to talk to your doctor or a recovery specialist. If you notice yourself starting to think about taking your prescription more than you should or getting excited to take it there may be a problem. Remember that addictions left untreated will only progress.
Mixing Drugs Can Be Lethal
It can happen with drugs that you may think are harmless. Taking your prescription and then drinking or taking an illicit drug may actually cancel out what that prescription is for. For example, taking a high blood pressure medication and then consuming meth will cancel that prescription out. You take medication to regulate your heartbeat and then take a drug that raises your heart rate to extremely dangerous levels. It can cause a heart attack or be fatal. Another example, taking medications to help your kidneys function, and then abusing alcohol will ruin your liver and kidneys. No matter what substance you take, it will go through the liver. Overloading the liver with substances causes damage. Heavy consumption of drugs and alcohol can lead to irreversible liver damage. Abuse of any substance will harm the body. Some substances will change the brain chemically and some substances will damage important organs. It can happen quickly.
No matter what abusing prescriptions, drinking too much, or taking illicit drugs will begin to take over your life. The damage caused by drugs, legal or illegal, and/or alcohol ranges. It will damage your brain and body. It will affect your friends and family. The ripple effect of drug and alcohol abuse is felt by everyone. Please, keep an eye on your medications and ask any questions you feel are important. Stay informed. If you or someone you know shows signs of abusing medications, reach out. The information you need is a phone call away. Getting help saves lives.
Getting Help For Addiction
Just Believe Recovery offers an integrated, research-based approach to addiction treatment that includes behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support, and much, much more.
We employ highly-skilled and caring addiction specialists who deliver these services to our clients with compassion and expertise in both partial hospitalization and residential formats. We provide clients with the tools, education, and support they so desperately need to achieve a full recovery and experience sustainable sobriety and long-lasting happiness and well-being.
Recovery from drug addiction is a life-long process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us today and discover out how we can help you achieve the fulfilling life you deserve!