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New York Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse in New York is a serious and dangerous problem that affects the public health and safety. This problem is not about just taking the wrong dose of medication by accident, this problem is about people who purposely abuse prescription medication for non-medical purposes, either their own medicine prescribed to them by a doctor or medicines obtained by some other means. One can buy them illegally off the streets or some may even steal them from a friend or family member.
In a recent study by The Federal Drug Abuse Warning Network, they found that the most commonly abused drugs are benzodiazepines and opiates. This finding was obtained by studying the record of incidents relating to drug-related prescription abuse cases in New York cities emergency room visits. Benzodiazepines accounted for over 140,000 ED visits categorized as drug abuse related cases. During the same period, abuse of the opiates methadone, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone combined for more than 110,000 ED visits.
Statistics also show that emergency room visits due to abuse of prescription drugs are more than the number of visits due to abuse of marijuana and heroin combined.
Here are some examples of commonly abused prescription medications.
Narcotics are also known as opiates. They are most often prescribed in order to relieve pain. Some examples of narcotics include: Oxycodone, Morphine, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Methadone, and Hydromorphone. Some of the more commonly used names or "street" names for these drugs are Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin. These medications are administered by swallowing of a pill or through intravenous injections. Their short term effects may include some pain relief, but most people who abuse this drug are looking for a feeling of euphoria or a general feeling of well being. These drugs often affect parts of the brain that give pleasure. That is the main reason why these drugs are addicting and then are abused. There are also some more serious or dangerous short term effects. Some of these effects include slowed breathing, diarrhea or constipation as well as drowsiness. For many, taking a large single dose of prescription pain relievers can cause severe respiratory depression that can sometimes lead to death.
Some of the more long term effects of these drugs include physical dependence and addiction. Dependence means that the body adapts to the presence of the drug in the system. Withdrawal symptoms then occur if abuse is reduced or stopped. There can even be very dangerous consequences once the body is used to taking these drugs.Tolerance to the drugs' effects also occurs with long-term use, so users must take higher doses to achieve the same or similar effects as experienced for the first time.
These types of prescriptions drugs are most often prescribed in order to treat anxiety, seizures and some sleep disorders. Depressants are substances which slow down the normal function of the body's central nervous system. These type of drugs include both barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Barbiturates are a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics, which are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Examples of these drugs are Pentobarbital, Diazepamn and Alprazolam. The more commonly known street names for these drugs are Xanax and Valium. Depressants come in many forms whether pills, powders or liquids and can be injected, swallowed or snorted. Those looking for a more powerful high will smoke or snort these prescription drugs.
Some short term effects of depressants include: slurred speech, lowered blood pressure, inability to concentrate, confusion, fatigue, slowed heart rate and/or breathing as well as impaired memory, judgment and coordination. Using these depressants may also cause visual and gastrointestinal disturbances, urinary retention, and temporary memory loss.
Some of the more long term effects of depressants are much more serious and dangerous and can often result in addiction, impaired sexual function, chronic sleep problems, respiratory depression and respiratory arrest, and unfortunately, death.
Ultimately the Practitioners of New York state should be taking utmost extreme measures to make sure patients don't become prescription medication abusers. The short and long term effects of these drugs can be fatal. To combat a rise in prescription drug abuse, New York state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has proposed a bill that requires doctors and pharmacists to look up a patient's prescription history every time they write or fill a script for narcotics like Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Xanax. If this bill passes it can help shut down prescription drug trafficking through an Internet system built to track abusers.