The Dextroverse

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Default 09-10-2007, 08:32 AM

KINGMAN - The television ads are on day and night encouraging people that they need drugs in order to sleep, wake up, lose weight or have a healthy sex life.

Drug companies spend billions of dollars each year trying to get Americans to buy their products. As prescribed by a doctor, prescription drugs save lives and help millions of people to cope with everyday life, but placed in the wrong hands, prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illegal drugs.

Shelly Mowry of the Arizona chapter of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America said up to about eight years ago, the Federal Drug Administration restricted drug companies from advertising on television. Whether easing those restrictions have caused an increase in the illegal use of prescription drugs is not known.

The problem of abusing prescription drugs has largely gone unnoticed and has sprouted several new phrases for today's youth, Generation Rx and pharming, according to Carol Smith-Carter, a community health education specialist and coordinator for the Mohave County Drug Education & Prevention Program, which started in February on a grant from the BHHS Legacy Foundation.

“MCDEPP offers educational presentations called, "partnering with families,” Smith-Carter said. “These presentations encourage parents to take an active role in family drug prevention. Talk to your children, it matters.”

Prescription drugs can be just as addictive as illegal drugs. Taking large doses of medicine can also be fatal. Teens also abuse prescription drugs by mixing them with alcohol or illegal street drugs to make a drug cocktail. Teens also are known to see several doctors with false conditions to get prescription drugs.

There are four kinds of prescription drugs that are abused - pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquillizers.

The myth is that abusing over-the-counter medicine is not dangerous and even considered safe because it's prescribed by doctors. Another factor in teen drug abuse is the ease of getting prescription drugs either from their own medicine cabinet, a friend’s prescription or on the Internet, Mowry said.

The physical effects of abusing prescription drugs include seizures, heart attacks, brain and liver damage. Other symptoms include dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and slow breathing.

Children making the transition from elementary to middle school are the most vulnerable to drug use not just with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana but abusing prescription drugs as well.

In 2006, more Arizona teenagers got high on prescription drugs than meth, cocaine and ecstasy combined, according to the Partnership of a Drug-Free America.

Every day, 2,700 teens try prescription drugs for the first time. Almost two-thirds of teens say it is easy to steal prescription drugs from their own medicine cabinet. A third of all teens say they know a friend who abuses prescription drugs. Twenty percent of American teens abuse some kind of prescription pain medication. One in 10 has abused cough medication.

Teens are surfing the net to find new ways to get high on prescription drugs even buying drug online illegally. Abusing prescription drugs can be as deadly as heroin and mixing alcohol and prescription drugs is even more deadly.

Soma, Ritalin, Vicoden, Xanax, Percodan and Oxcontin are some of the most common prescription drugs that are being abused. Most drugs come in pill form and can be swallowed or crushed then snorted or injected.

DXM or dextromethorphan is found in cough syrup and acts as a hallucinogen, Mowry said.

Soma comes in a pill form and is used as a depressant. Some effects are drowsiness, weakness, temporary vision loss, vomiting and mental or physical impairment. Illegal use of the drug is increasing with the drug listed as the most abused non-controlled substance in the country.

Percodan is a powerful painkiller that can cause vomiting, dizziness, nausea, sedation and light-headiness.

Vicoden is a pain reliever similar to codeine. Side effects include drowsiness, moodiness, decreased mental or physical abilities or hearing loss. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency lists the drug as the most abused pharmaceutical controlled drug in the country.

Ritalin is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and can cause paranoia, hallucinations, tremors, seizures or strokes.

Oxcontin is called the poor man’s heroin and causes respiratory depression, weakness, dizziness, headaches and nausea. Illegal use of the drug is on the rise and can produce a heroin-like high.
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