Prescription drug abuse

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Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health problem. Physicians have an important role of ensuring that safe and effective uses of treatment options are followed.  Many researches have showed that the cause is mostly on drug overdose. This occurs in the absence of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers. The drugs that are mostly abused are opioids, stimulants and central nervous system depressants drugs. This causes many deaths which are caused by unintentional injuries.

Prescription drug abuse has a number of definitions from different scholars. Blanchard, Janice et al. defined drug abuse is the intentional use of a specific medication without a prescription. On the other hand, Herzberg, David et al. defined prescription drug abuse as the non-medical use of a prescription drug.  They also added that the misuse has been on the rise in both the civilian and military population. The drug can be used in another way, which was not prescribed for. Others can use it because of the feeling and experience it brings after using it.

This paper will concentrate on prescription drug misuse a good example is non-sanctioned therapeutic usage without consensus. Both the elderly and the young practice drug abuse. Abusing drugs leads to many adverse effects like addiction. According to several surveys, prescribed medications that are mostly abused include those that are used to treat pain. Several researchers have looked into the issue of prescription drug abuse. Some of their findings are discussed below.

Eleven percent of service members in 2008 self-reported the misuse of prescribed medications (Blanchard, Janice et al. 410). They also added that there was an increase in prescription of opioid misuse among the military populations. This was because of the management of pain syndromes. The opioids are used by the military to for treating injuries sustained during training. Among duty army personnel deaths from drug overdose doubled between 2006 and 2011. A high percentage of the deaths involved the prescription medications. They also said that the treatment of Prescription drug abuse is dependent on the patient and drugs. They gave an example of an individual who misuses opioids can benefit from methadone treatment. An individual may respond to behavioral therapy if one misuses the prescription of stimulants.

Centers for disease control and prevention said that prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions.  According to Herzberg, David et al. (408) Deaths from prescribed drugs can be compared to automobile accidents. The drugs are easily accessed in pharmacies across the streets. According to Herzberg, David et al. (409) pharmaceutical companies continue to unveil new drugs. They include sedatives like Halcion, stimulants like Adderall, antidepressants like Prozac and analgesics like extended-release opioid OxyContin.  According to the researchers, they claimed that they were less subject to abuse. However, they are still among the drugs being misused. The researchers reported that the misuse was mostly among the whites, working class and middle class Americans.

They concluded that the use of non-medical prescription is more common than the use of any illicit drug. They recommended that in order to curb the misuse of prescribed drugs all of us have to take part in it. The first step is to educate the physicians and the public (Herzberg, David et al. 409). Overdose prevention and opioid safety program awareness among the public can be held. In addition, prescription drug monitoring systems can be put in place. According to the researchers, this can be accompanied by law enforcement measures like increased criminal penalties. Herzberg, David et al. (410) concluded by saying that in order to stop the misuse of prescribed drugs, distinctions should not be made. These are the distinctions between the types of drug use. Effective treatments and harm reduction techniques to all drug users.

The internet plays a significant role in marketing drugs, selling them and in distribution. People can be able to shop for 24hrs in the market place. Several studies have shown that there is a positive association between levels of online information on purchasing of drugs (Orsolini, Laura et al. 302). The issue is mostly with vulnerable groups like children and adolescents. A good number of online pharmacies do not require any prescriptions. Due to the potential of the internet, it can be w reliable tool for prevention of drug abuse. This will be an easier way to reach the hard to reach drug misusers.

This brings the call of understanding both online drug markets and consumers (Orsolini, Laura et al. 303). They argue that this will aid in understanding the critical determinants behind making the decision of going online to purchase drugs.  They believe through this people can come up with ways to deal with drug abuse that is purchased online.  For their research, they used both PubMed and Scopus databases. Google scholar was also helpful in this research for prescription drug abuse. The data they got was stratified. They found out that most of the customers were young adults (Orsolini, Laura et al. 304). The young customers ranged between twelve and fourteen years old. They also noticed that most of their respondents were male from a number of countries.  The customers seemed to be well educated looking at the way they responded to the questions.

The researchers grouped the drug abusers into four groups. There were the enthusiastic experts, risk-averse traditionalists, inexperienced opponents and convenience –oriented rationalists (Orsolini, Laura et al. 307).  The researcher found out that the men abused drugs, which they believed would enhance their sexual performance. In addition, the people without health insurance believed that they would acquire affordable medicine from the internet. The respondents said they purchased their drugs online because of the easy accessibility.

Some researchers looked at prescription drug abuse in terms of race and ethnicity.  Singhal, Astha et al. (1) hypothesized a priori that racial-ethnic disparities complaints are associated with drug seeking behaviors. They contrasted them with conditions that are associated with pain. They used data from National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The data was for five years between 2007 and 2011. They found out that the early adults who used opioid were aged between 18 and 65. This was because of condition like toothache, back pain and abdominal pain as reported by Singhal, Astha et al. (1).

The researchers found out that non-Hispanic blacks were less likely to receive opioid descriptions during their emergency department visits. On the other hand, non-Hispanics whites who suffered from toothache, fractures or kidney stones were prescribed the opioids.  Singhal, Astha et al. (1) argues that the difference in prescriptions by race and ethnicity could lead to burden of opioid misuse among the whites.

All the above-mentioned researchers gave the signs and side effects of misusing prescribed drugs. The most common is drug addiction. This can be noticed by mood swings with either the availability or absence of the drugs. Some change their sleeping patterns. To some when the prescriptions are not available irritability is increased. Some increases their level of alcohol consumption. The abuse of opioid has a number of symptoms. They include confusion of familiar surroundings and breathe shortness. Depression may also occur and constipation. In some cases, there is rapid decrease in blood pressure.

Apart from the above effects, there are other advance effects.  These effects indicate complications that should be taken seriously. They include restlessness especially throughout the day. Cold flashes regardless of the weather may also occur. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common signs. Another effect can be cardiac arrest.

If the prescribed drugs are taken for emotional problems, the result will be to upset the feelings (Blanchard, Janice et al. 412). Nevertheless, the person may not be able to experience the depression for a period. The problem becomes complicated when the individual continues to use the drugs. The researchers also noted that the misuse of prescribed drugs results to negative effects on the lives of the individuals. This can affect personal relationships, which may lead to loss of employment and financial difficulties.

Prescribed drug abuse is serious conditions that require treatment once they are noticed. When the use of a drug is reduced, it may bring serious medical complications, which may lead to death. The researchers advised that detoxification of the drugs should not be done at home. One should make sure that there is medical supervision.

The researchers said that the prescription drug abuse is increasing. The main reason is the availability of drugs over the counter (Herzberg, David et al. 409).  This is also because the doctors are prescribing more drugs for health problems. The patient then goes to buy the drugs. The next time the patient will have similar symptoms they will just go to the nearest pharmacy and order similar drugs.  Orsolini, Laura et al. (310) says that online pharmacies make it much easier to get the drug without showing a prescription.

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  1. Blanchard, Janice et al. “A Systematic Review Of The Prevention And Treatment Of Prescription Drug Misuse”. Military Medicine, vol 181, no. 5, 2016, pp. 410-423. AMSUS, doi:10.7205/milmed-d-15-00009.
  2. Smith, Robert J. et al. “How, Why, And For Whom Do Emergency Medicine Providers Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs?”. Pain Medicine, vol 16, no. 6, 2015, pp. 1122-  1131. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1111/pme.12700.
  3. Herzberg, David et al. “Recurring Epidemics Of Pharmaceutical Drug Abuse In America: Time   For An All-Drug Strategy”. American Journal Of Public Health, vol 106, no. 3, 2016, pp. 408-410. American Public Health Association, doi:10.2105/ajph.2015.302982.
  4. Orsolini, Laura et al. “Profiling Online Recreational/Prescription Drugs’ Customers And Overview Of Drug Vending Virtual Marketplaces”. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical And Experimental, vol 30, no. 4, 2015, pp. 302-318. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1002/hup.2466.
  5. Singhal, Astha et al. “Racial-Ethnic Disparities In Opioid Prescriptions At Emergency Department Visits For Conditions Commonly Associated With Prescription Drug Abuse”. PLOS ONE, vol 11, no. 8, 2016, p. e0159224. Public Library Of Science (Plos), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159224.
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