It’s a call for service that law enforcement agencies receive more and more throughout Clark County. An unknown suspect inside a pharmacy attempting to get a prescription with a forged script their former physician did not write. Upon arrival, officers find a person with similar symptoms to methamphetaphine or cocaine users caught in possession of illegal street narcotics…jittery, shameful, desperate, and afraid of how they’ll soon feel after being unable to get their “fix.”
I’m not going to point blame at any part of the medical industry. Although it’s a business, the vast majority of it exists to help and to heal. Instead, let’s address the obvious, that prescription drugs are a huge problem in Las Vegas as well as nationwide. They should be used only when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and with careful and considered personal attention.
I’m not an expert or authority on prescription or illegal drugs. However, I have had many interactions with addicts of both, some of whom have been friends or relatives and many strangers while on duty as a police officer.
Prescriptions Drugs versus Street Drugs
We all know that street drugs are very addictive and dangerous. What many don’t know is that some street drugs began their mind-altering existence as a prescription drug. So in a lot of ways they’re similar:
1. Both can be addictive
Many individuals develop a dependency on prescription drugs to the point that they are miserable and in pain when they go without them although they may no longer need treatment.
2. Both can cause impairment
As witnessed by the actions of famous individuals later found to be addicted to medication, prescription drugs can produce inebriated effects similar to street drugs.
3. Both can be severely potent
Recently we’ve witnessed the death of celebrities where the fault was preemptively placed on prescription drugs. For every death we hear about, there are thousands of overdoses that go unknown.
A dangerous assumption
Although similarities exist between prescription drugs and street drugs, there’s one huge difference. Many people assume that prescription drugs are completely safe and will only have positive effects. However, like most things, too much can really cause harm.
Unaware of every single way to avoid addictive and dangerous prescription drugs, I do know that doctors are customarily good at directing their patients towards safe medical outcomes, even if protection from adverse liability is their motivation. Therefore, to avoid dangerous prescription drugs that are potentially addictive, pay attention to the instructions you receive:
– Initial instructions for “addiction management”
If your prescription includes instructions detailing how you should slowly increase your dosage when you begin to take them and you do the exact opposite afterwards…beware. This means your body needs to get used to a potent substance and may have a negative reaction to sudden stoppage. So, a user could experience an extreme impairment when first using this drug, an increased need to dull the pain of their ailment, and painful withdrawals when attempting to stop using them. This reminds me of a conversation with an addict of street drugs that had become my informant. I was told that the first time the informant used drugs there was an extreme high, then a period of “chasing” that high, which the informant never felt again, then tremendous physical pain from withdrawals after sent to drug court and rehabilitation in lieu of a jail sentence.
Throughout our lives, we’re told to follow our initial instincts. Why not listen to our body’s instincts. If we’re told that we need to complete a process so that our body can get used to a product it may initially reject, maybe it’s a good idea to ask if there are any other treatment options before we began to consume that product.
– Instructions for dealing for potential impairment
If you’re told not to do certain activities (driving, operating machinery, etc) after consuming certain prescribed drugs, that means that they may cause some kind of impairment. I’m not a doctor but I would assume that the human body could become dependent on the euphoric sensation of some impairments.
In her article about the dangers of prescription drugs, England-based doctor, Shelly Narula, said, “It is common to discover the dangers of prescription drugs after they have been marketed to the medical community and public.” Regardless of the size of their test group and the vigilance of the medical industry to produce a safe yet effective product, more dangers will always be recognized once a product has been prescribed to millions in uncontrollable environments…the privacy of the patients’ homes.
We cannot ignore the obvious. As I continue to respond to and hear about tragedies in the course of my profession caused by addictions to prescription drugs, I will always have the opinion that everyone should be extremely careful when using them and only use them if they have no other choice. What’s your opinion?