Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Prescription Drug Abuse On The Rise

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

According to an article in Life Science, as reported on Mercola’s site, the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, while illicit drug abuse has declined:

Cocaine and methamphetamine use in the U.S. fell significantly in 2007, but abuse of prescription drugs increased fairly dramatically.

The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which included about 67,500 Americans, found that between 2006 to 2007, cocaine use among adults ages 18-25 decreased 23 percent. Methamphetamine use fell by a third.

However, the abuse of prescription pain relievers by young adults rose 12 percent.

As a society, we have been sold a bill of goods that implies that prescription drugs are safe while illegal drugs are not. This is simply not true. However, due to this mentality and the fact that prescription drugs are readily available in our over-medicated society, more and more people are using prescription medications for the wrong reasons.

The most widespread offenders include the elderly and teens. The elderly are affected primarily due to access and confusion. They’ve got so many pills around, it’s hard to keep them all straight. There’s also the misguided attitude that “if one’s good, then two’s better.” Or the dangerous thought that, “This episode is worse, so I’d better take more.” With teens, prescription drug use and abuse is increasing. Unfortunately, it is becoming “the new fad,” or latest vice of experimentation.

Why is it becoming “cool” to take prescription meds? Take a look at the commercials on your television. They’re designed to create a positive influence and associate beautiful, healthy people with prescription meds. If it’s not models, it’s cartoons. Why would the pharmaceutical companies do this? To make money! They’re not selling meds out of the goodness of their hearts, they’re doing to make money. If you make the meds look fun and safe, you’ll sell more. If you make it look cool, the kids want it. If the kids want it… they’ll get it. One in five teens admit to abusing prescription medications.

If it’s so important to restrict alcohol and tobacco advertisements on the television, why do pharmaceuticals that are just as dangerous get a free pass?

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