How prescription drugs are abused: A comparison of four patients and the reasons for their abuse.
It is a miracle that Lee is still living. He was in excruciating pain from a severe back injury when he began taking pain medication. He had been given a prescription for a narcotic pain medication for a legitimate reason. It was unknown if he meant to take 30 pills in 3 days because he thought it would stop the pain or if he was confused and didn’t know when he last took the medicine.
However, that first bottle of pills was the first in a long road of addiction and abuse. Lee needed the medication but once he realized his system could tolerate the higher numbers of pain pills, he took more and more. His wife, in an effort to prevent him from overdosing, broke open his tylox capsules after picking them up from the pharmacy and poured out half of the medication in the toilet.
Extensive liver damage and other problems are caused by the overuse of prescription pain medication. Narcotic medication is a regulated and controlled drug for a reason. It is dangerous. It can be deadly. It is addictive.
People abuse prescription drugs for different reasons. Lee abused pain pills because the pain in his back was so severe that the medicine wasn’t alleviating the pain and he was taking additional pills seeking relief. He already had an addictive personality however. He had previously been an alcoholic.
For the next patient who overdosed on prescription drugs, the reasons were different. Joanne was miserable. She was a caregiver for an elderly parent. She worked shift work. She was a widower and her only family lived many miles away. She had been prescribed nerve pills and pain pills due to neck and back problems. The ailments were legitimate. She filled her prescriptions and went home.
Joanne’s family received a call on Sunday morning. Joanne had been a terrible vehicle accident. From what everyone could tell, she had taken several nerve pills, presumedly to stay asleep and not face reality. She had woken up and called her niece. Her niece later said that her speech was slurred and she wasn’t making sense. She had then left her house and driven under the influence of excessive prescription drugs and had an accident. No other vehicles were involved. Paramedics believed she may have had a halucination because she said that something was in the road but witnesses said there was nothing there.
Luckily, Lee and Joanne were not the primary caregiver of a small child. Unfortunately, the abuse does not discriminate. Sarah was at home with her small child at the time of her accident. She was known to be addicted to Soma, which was prescribed to her due to back pain.
Sarah and her daughter were at home near their swimming pool. Sarah had taken too many of the Soma pills and passed out, falling into the swimming pool and hitting her head. A neighbor had driven up at the time and called an ambulance. Her daughter was cared for by the neighbor until the father could get home.
Sarah’s addiction was thought to have begun because she liked the high of the Soma. She took the next pill when the high from the last wore off, rather than waiting for the time she was supposed to take the next dose. She needed the pain medicine but couldn’t be responsible with it due to the mental attachment she formed with the effects of the drug.
Beth was not prescribed any medications. Unlike the patients we have discussed, Beth didn’t go to the local pharmacy and fill a legitimate prescription that was given to her by her physician. Beth went to the pharmacy and filled her dying mother’s prescriptions. She filled her brother’s prescriptions. She said she was “picking up prescriptions for the household” but she stole several of the pills from each bottle.
At the Forth of July party with her family, Beth went into the house while everyone else was swimming and stole prescription medication from her family member’s purses. Beth doesn’t have a legitimate medical condition to warrant the need for medication. Beth is an addict and will take any prescription pills for the high or the buzz that she gets from it.
Beth, like many other despicable people in this world, will steal from family, friends and strangers in order to get a buzz or a high feeling. What kind of person does it take to steal from their dying mother?
Prescription drugs are abused in different ways. Often, patients take prescriptions as they are described for a while before becoming addicted and later abusing the drugs they are prescribed for legitimate medical reasons. Other people abuse the drugs in the same way people addicted to illegal street drugs do.