Most of people when they think of drug abuse will only think of illegal drugs like marijuana or cocaine. The truth is that there is a large number of people who are abusing drugs that are legal and prescribed only by doctors. There is a study done by the United Nations that says that the number of people who are addicted to legal prescription drugs is close to the number of people who are addicted to illegal drugs (Bender, 2). But there are reasons why people will take medicine that is not prescribed to them, even if they do not realize how harmful it is to them.
There are a lot of physical side effects of medicine that is taken when people are sick, and the side effects are even worse when people are healthy and they are taking the medicine without advice from the doctor. This essay will talk about the many causes and the physical effects of prescription drug abuse. The first thing that this essay will talk about is the definition of prescription drug abuse. According to “The Handbook on Drug and Alcohol Abuse”, drug abuse is defined as, “nonmedical use of drugs, both drugs that have and those that do not have generally accepted medical value” (Winger, 1992).
This definition makes it clear that even if it is a medicine drug that the doctor will give you if you are sick, if the use of it is nonmedical and it is being used by someone who does not need it or is not sick then that is prescription drug abuse. Sometimes, people will use prescription drugs because their friends or family will give them the drugs. If someone says that they have a headache or backpain, and their friend gives them a pill that is prescribed by their doctor, that is illegal drug use.
The friend may become addicted to the drug because they took it without doctor supervision and instruction. It is also because people don’t want to throw away their pills even after they are done using them, and that makes it easy for anyone else to come and take the pills without a prescription from a doctor (Bender, 1). According to Michele Van Vranken, teenagers especially will experiment with prescription drugs because they think that they are safer than illegal drugs and that they will not get addicted to them (2).
Young people will also experiment with prescription drugs for the same reasons they experiment with illegal drugs, and that is “have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively” (Vranken, 1). There is also another danger to medication because not only prescription drugs are addictive, but also regular drugs that you can buy over-the-counter at any pharmacy can be very addictive and dangerous to people who abuse them (Vranken, 3).
One of the biggest dangers in buying illegal prescription drugs is that especially in developing countries, the drugs are fake and made illegally, which is extremely dangerous for people to take (Bender, 2). It happens sometimes that people will buy prescription drugs from the street dealers just like illegal drugs (Vranken, 1). The effects of taking these illegal medicines is very harmful. Some possible effects are difficulty breathing and changes in heart rate (“Consequences of Prescription Drug Abuse”, 1). Also, in larger amounts, the drugs can cause comas, seizures and possibly even death (“Consequences”, 1).
A more detailed description of the harmful effects of taking prescription drugs when the doctor does not recommend them is that the drugs cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, too much sweating or urinating, thirst, drowsiness, dizziness, shaking, insomnia, rashes and hospitalization and even sometimes death (“Consequences”, 1). In conclusion, drug use is not only the kind of drug use that we think we know. Drugs are found in many shapes, not just as marijuana or cocaine or something similar, but also as aspirin, painkillers or other kinds of medication.
Anyone who takes medicine that was not prescribed for them by a doctor for any reason at all is an illegal drug user and is risking a lot of physical consequences. This is dangerous especially in the developing countries where almost half of all the prescription medicine sold illegally is fake (Bender, 2). People will not realize how harmful they are because they are medicine that are supposed to heal people, but using these medicines the wrong way will result in the exact opposite of healing people and can lead to addiction and death if too many drugs are taken.