Misuse of Prescription Drugs


Published in Cape May County Herald.

A friend of mine lived happily until she went through a divorce. She was pregnant at the time. Her husband had a relationship with another woman and so my friend left her husband’s home. I invited her to stay at my home in Court House.

Haunted by the divorce, she was quite depressed and her doctor prescribed medicines like Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Alprazolam (Xanax). Everything was going well until one day I found her in the living room unable to speak or even open her eyes. Later, I found out that she had been misusing the anti-depressant and also drinking alcohol.

I tried to convince her to stop these acts for the baby but she didn’t listen to me. Due to this behavior, I asked her to leave my home if she wouldn't improve herself. She left.

This is not just a story of an individual but is happening to people around the globe. I think this should be dealt with correctly.

The use of medicines in a dose other than prescribed, intentionally or unintentionally, to feel euphoric, is termed as the misuse of prescription drugs. According to a report published by the Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 119 million Americans aged 12 or older used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in 2015. This is a growing national problem.

The advancement in technologies and the understanding of the human body resulted in the increase in production and the usage of the medicines. People have adapted and are now dependent upon them. Moreover, people have started using them to get the psychedelic effect, in other words, "to get high."

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of medication most commonly misused are opioids, CNS (central nervous system) depressants, and stimulants.

Prescription drug misuse can have serious medical implications and one can die if they overdo it. Community and educational organizations have important roles to play in prescription drug abuse. The role of community organizations will remain an important part of the process. They must be committed to supporting each other's efforts through sharing of information.

With the help of civil society, governments and non-governmental organizations, we should aim to strengthen the national self-confidence and social fabric of traumatized people, to encourage and help them to overcome enormous human security challenges.

We should have services that can monitor the health and mental conditions of those affected so that they are well informed about the impact on their health if they misuse drugs. There is an urgent need to have awareness campaigns at home and at the workplace.

Lack of education will naturally mean lack of awareness about the misuse of it. It also means fewer choices in the job market and lesser bargaining power to negotiate working conditions. Our economy would be severely hit if the number of prescription drug abusers surged to thousands in the next decade.

It is true to say that there is a great possibility of multiplier effects of the disease which can penetrate to the general population in the near future.

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