Archive for the ‘Oxycodone’ Category

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

March 10, 2008

By Steve Hayes
Director, Novus Medical, Detox Center of Pasco County LLC

TEEN PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE

Accordingto the Partnership for a Drug-Free America:
–1 in 5 teens has abused aprescription pain medication

–1 in 5 teens report abusingprescription stimulants and tranquilizers

–1 in 10 teens have abused coughmedication

According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy:

Though overall teen drug use isdown nationwide, more teens abuse prescription drugs than any otherillicit drug except marijuana – more than cocaine, heroin, andmethamphetamine combined.

Every day, 2,500 kids aged12-17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time and more peopleare getting addicted to prescription drugs.

Drug treatment admissions forprescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to2005.

Teens are abusing prescriptiondrugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a”safe” high.

Especially troubling is thatthe majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs say they are easy toget and are often free.

PHARM PARTIES

At Novus; some of our patients are young people who tell us about parties that kidsas young as 11 attend. Instead of bringing a present, each child is tobring some prescription drugs that they got from their parents’ medicinecabinet.

When they arrive at the party, they go into a room and pour the drugs into a punch bowl. Then the kids will take turns reaching into thebowl and taking a handful of pills. Sometimes the kids combine this with alcohol–an often lethal combination.

When confronted by astounded parents, their children often remark that it is O.K. because these are not illegal drugs– they were purchased at a pharmacy and,after all, they were in their parents’ medicine cabinet. A 15-year-oldwas quoted as saying that she saw the drug advertised on television and if itwere dangerous it wouldn’t be on television.

SOME DON’T GET A SECOND CHANCE

Itis not pleasant, but if you spend a few minutes on the internet you will seenot statistics but real stories of prescription drug overdoses and deaths ofteens. In many of these instances, the fatal drug overdose did notcome after long periods of prescription drug use. The fatal overdoses came the first time they took the prescription drugs. Maybe itwas their individual DNA. Maybe it was the way that the drug was metabolized. Maybe it was another substance that they had taken, like alcohol or another prescription drug. The only thing for sure is that some young people have overdosed and died after their first use.

One18 year old died after taking 40 milligrams of Oxycontin while drinking a beer. A 16 year old died after taking 80 milligrams of OxyContin that she was given by a “friend.” Some of the other deceased children’s parents said that they didn’t believe in taking any type of drugs, but that didn’t stop their children from yielding to peer pressure and “trying” the drug.

MOST ABUSED DRUGS

Painkillers(OxyContin and its generic form oxycodone, Lortab, Vicodin, Percodan,Percocet and the Fentanyl Patch) are the most common pharmaceuticals abused byteens, especially by younger teens. Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) abuse ismore common among older teens and college students than youngerteens. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are abused byteens of all ages.

Oxies,OC, hillbilly heroin, oxycotton, 80s, percs, vikes, and vikings are commonlyused terms to refer to painkillers. Ritz, rippers, dexies, and benniesare commonly used terms to refer to stimulants. Benzos, xanies,xani-bars, xani-bombs, and roofies are commonly used terms to refer tobenzodiazepines.

Everyoneunderstands that heroin is a dangerous drug and many people die from heroinoverdoses. What parent would not be horrified if their children tookheroin? However, if your children are taking these narcotic painkillers,they are taking drugs that mimic the effects of heroin in the body.

Everyoneunderstands that cocaine is a dangerous drug. What parent wants theirchildren to use cocaine? However, many parents watch their children takeRitalin and Adderall, two heavy stimulants that are Schedule II drugs-just likecocaine. In 2006, it is estimated that three out of 10 high schoolseniors abuse prescription stimulants.

Stimulantside effects include dilated pupils, increased heart and respiratory rates,elevated blood pressure, feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and delusions,hostility and aggression, and panic, suicidal, or homicidal tendencies. Overdose or death is preceded by high fever, convulsions, and heart failurewhich may be hastened by physical activity.

Benzodiazepinescan cause dilated pupils and slurred speech, feelings of intoxication, loss ofmotor coordination, respiratory depression, sensory alteration, depression andlowered blood pressure. In younger children these side effects aremultiplied and can lead to seizures and, if not immediately addressed, death.

Sinceantidepressants (Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro) are prescribed now foreverything from weight loss to muscle pain, they are in many medicine cabinetsand are left lying on bedside tables. As we discussed last week, there isnow evidence that these drugs are no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill)and that they are linked to 52% of the suicides by women in Sweden in2006. The FDA has ordered suicide and violence warnings placed on theantidepressant boxes if these dangerous drugs are taken by teenagers becausethese violent side effects are even more prevalent in younger people.

Thedanger to teens from all of these prescription drugs is greatly increased whenthey are combined with each other or with alcohol.

Nocaring parent would leave heroin, cocaine or other dangerous street drugs ontheir nightstand or in the medicine cabinet or just dump it in thegarbage. However, many parents do exactly this with legal heroin, legalcocaine: antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

BANKRUPTCY AND POSSIBLE PRISON FOR NEGLIGENT PARENTS

Inour society where it seems that every bad thing must be blamed on someone elseand that someone else should pay, there is real financial and legal liabilityif these dangerous drugs are taken by teens.

Mostof us are aware that if a child obtains a loaded gun from our house and someoneis harmed, we can have both civil and criminal liability for not havingproperly locked up the weapon. We have read of people being suedand losing their homes and most of their assets because of the use of the unsecured weapon. We have also seen people who have actually been prosecuted fortheir negligence of leaving a loaded gun around and were sent to prison.

Prescriptiondrugs are highly regulated. They can only be obtained if a doctor writesa prescription. They carry many serious warnings. Every day thereare more stories about prescription drug abuse, the dangers of prescription drugs and the deaths caused by prescription drugs.

Ifyour son or daughter were to give another child these prescription drugs andthey were to overdose and die, it is highly likely that a civil suit againstyou for negligence will result in your having to pay damages.

Thereis also a chance that you could face criminal prosecution for your leavingdangerous drugs around that could lead to the death of another.

CREATING CRIMINALS

Maybeyour child is an entrepreneur and does not take the prescription drugs that heor she gets from your medicine cabinet or bed side table but instead sells them to others. Possession of controlled substances with intent to sell is acrime. The painkillers are mostly Schedule II drugs. Ritalin andAdderall are Schedule II drugs. Most benzodiazepines areSchedule IV drugs.

Accordingto the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report “Crime in the United States”, there were 143,639 juveniles arrested by state and local law enforcement agencies for drug abuse violations during 2006, representing 10.4% of the drugarrests in which the offender’s age was reported.

Ifyour child is caught in possession of any amount of painkillers or stimulantshere are the federal guidelines:

First Offense: Not more than 20 years. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, or more than life. Fine $1 million.

Second Offense: Not more than 30 years. Ifdeath or serious injury, not less than life. Fine $2 million.

If your child is caught with benzodiazepines, here are the federal guidelines:

First Offense: Not more than 3 years. Fine not more than $250,000.

Second Offense: Not more than6 years. Fine not more than $500,000.

Obviously,if your child is treated as a minor the guidelines can be different, but it isstill drug trafficking. By leaving prescription drugs around and bynot educating our kids about the dangers of prescription drugs, they risk notonly serious injury or death but also prison.

CONCLUSION

Art Linkletter hosted a television show for a number of years entitled, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” He would tape kids responding to various things and it was quite humorous. Well, kids still say the darndest things but sometimes what they say is not so humorous.

Forexample, “But Mommy you take them.” Or, “But Daddy itisn’t like I am taking heroin or something.” Or, “But we onlytook two.” Or, “But they are legal aren’t they.” Or,”But a doctor wouldn’t give something dangerous.” Or,”But I saw all the good things it can do on television. If it were bad
they wouldn’t let it be advertised.”

However, some parents have heard this: “I’m sorry. We couldn’t save her.” Or, “The different prescription drugs he took caused him to have a seizure and we couldn’t revive him.” Or, “I know that she only took one OxyContin. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Please help educate our children to the dangers of these prescription drugs. Please help us keep more parents from hearing that their child could not berevived.

Representatives of Novus Medical Detox Center are speaking at churches, schools, service groups and other venues to educate children andtheir parents. Larry Golbom at prescription addiction radio.com is educating his listeners. But compared to the tens of billions of dollars spent by the drug companies, making prescription drugs seem the answer to any problems, it is going to take a real grass roots movement to make peopleaware of the problem and solutions to it.

Please pass this article on to your friends and neighbors. The life you save maybe your child’s.

Related:
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Study finds 1 in 4 US teens has a STD

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High Prescription Drug Use and Abuse in Colleges

March 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 9, 2008

American college students use and abuse prescription drugs like never before.  They are following in the always dangerous and sometimes deadly steps of celebrities.
alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.  Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and other “celebrities” have also been known to take these medications.  Used together — and with alcohol — these drugs have an unpredictable impact, can be addictive and are sometimes fatal. 

Lohan in a frightful piblicity photo.

And the shooters in the most violent campus multiple-killings, at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, have both had some history with a mixture of prescription medications.
.
The journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine recently reported that compared to college students taking prescription drugs for medical reasons, those who use medications without a prescription are more likely to abuse illegal drugs.  The report also gave information on the high number of our college students using such drugs as sleep aids and anti-depressants.

Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., M.S.W. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) says that in the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in prescription rates of medications – such as stimulants, opioids, and benzodiazepines – that are likely to be abused in the United States.

“These increases are likely the result of many factors, including improved awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of several disorders, increased duration of treatment, availability of new medications and increased marketing,” said Dr. McCabe. “The increases in prescription rates have raised public health concerns because of the abuse potential of these medications and high prevalence rates of non-medical use, abuse and dependence, especially among young adults 18 to 24 years of age.”

Most people familiar with today’s young people, the Hollywood tabloids and other information sources can readily conclude what drugs are most used and abused.

Painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills are the most used and abused drugs among our college students and throughout our society, experts say.

According to Medical News Today, Dr. McCabe used a Web survey of 3,639 college students to acquire information about prescription drug use and potential drug abuse. The average age of the sample was 19.9 years. Students were asked if they used prescribed or had used without a prescription.

Students were also asked if they had experienced drug-related problems like engaging in illegal activities to obtain drugs, having withdrawal symptoms, or developing medical problems due to drug use.

Results of the survey are summarized below:

–59.9% reported medically using at least one of the four drugs with a prescription

–About 20% reported taking them without a prescription for non-medical reasons

–39.7% reported that they had used the drugs only by prescription

–4.4% used medications, but were not prescribed them

–15.8% reported using some medications, both with and without prescriptions

The researcher also found that students who reported using drugs without prescriptions were more likely to screen positive for drug abuse compared to students who never used them or who had only used them for medical reasons.

Dr. McCabe believes that physicians should be extremely careful when prescribing commonly abused drugs to college students.

“Clearly, appropriate diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic monitoring of college students who are receiving abusable prescription medications is crucial, not only to improve clinical outcomes but also to help prevent the abuse of these medications within a population that is largely responsible for its own medication management,” he writes.

“Finally, any efforts aimed at reducing non-medical use of prescription drugs will have to take into consideration that these drugs are highly effective and safe medications for most patients who use them as prescribed.”

There is another insidious implication of Dr. McCabe’s study.  If college students are taking these drugs at an alarming rate; when did they start?  For most, they start down this path while in high school or before.

Some of the Commonly Abused Medications

Oxycodone, a painkiller, is the active ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin. Hydrocodone, another painkiller, is often combined with acetaminophen, as in the prescription drug Vicodin. Diazepam, sold under the commercial name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Temazepam, brand name Restoril, is prescribed in the short term to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name Xanax, is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Doxylamine, found in common “nighttime sleep aids,” is an an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect and is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. (It is also used, in combination with decongestants, to relieve cough and cold symptoms.)

Ambian is a nightime sleep aid that is often abused and can be addictive.

The painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are opiates, which are dangerous when combined with anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, oxycodone is often abused and an acute overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.

Diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam is sold under the name Xanax. Temazepam is also used as a sleep aid and sold under the name Restoril. Doxylamine, a sleep aid and antihistamine, is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications, including NyQuil.

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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger

February 6, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 6, 2008
(From reports by CNN, AP, FOX News Channel and Reuters)

Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger, 28, died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhatta

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,” the office said in a short statement.

“We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”

Oxycodone, a painkiller, is the active ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin. Hydrocodone, another painkiller, is often combined with acetaminophen, as in the prescription drug Vicodin. Diazepam, sold under the commercial name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Temazepam, brand name Restoril, is prescribed in the short term to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name Xanax, is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Doxylamine, found in common “nighttime sleep aids,” is an an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect and is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. (It is also used, in combination with decongestants, to relieve cough and cold symptoms.)

Ledger died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhattan. The Oscar-nominated Australian actor, best known for his role as a stoic, closeted cowboy in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” was 28.

Police reported finding several prescription medications in the room but no illegal drugs.

An autopsy done on the actor January 23 was inconclusive.

From Reuters:
His death shocked film fans and fellow actors around the world and added his name to the list of movie stars who died young, like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Kim Ledger, the actor’s father, said the family was humbled by the outpouring of support from fans around the world and asked to be allowed to grieve privately.

“Today’s results put an end to speculation, but our son’s beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts,” he said in a statement.

“While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy.”

SIX PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

The painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are opiates, which are dangerous when combined with anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, oxycodone is often abused and an acute overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.

Diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam is sold under the name Xanax. Temazepam is also used as a sleep aid and sold under the name Restoril. Doxylamine, a sleep aid and antihistamine, is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications, including NyQuil.

Ledger had said in recent interviews he was having trouble sleeping during the filming of the latest Batman filmThe Dark Knight” in which he plays The Joker, a homicidal maniac. The film is due out in July.

Andrew Kolodny, a psychiatrist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said, “If someone has an overdose death with that kind of toxicology report, it’s usually an indication that they were either doctor-shopping or purchasing medications either on the street or on the Internet.”

The handsome star had been romantically linked with a number of actresses and models, periodically spotted in fancy clubs and night spots around New York.

He recently had been in a committed relationship with actress Michelle Williams, the mother of their 2-year-old daughter, Matilda, but the couple split in September. Some reports said Ledger was having difficulty with the breakup.

The couple met during the filming of “Brokeback Mountain,” for which Ledger received an Oscar nomination.

Other film credits included “The Patriot” in 2000, “Monster’s Ball” in 2001 and “I’m Not There” in 2007.

The FOX News Channel reported that Mr. Ledger was taking “two kinds of anti-anxiety medications, two kinds of sleep aids and two kinds of pain killers.”
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