The Issue of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug use and abuse The health risks associated with Prescription drug use and abuse are many and vary significantly depending upon which drug is being used. According to the website, it was reported that, “From 1993 to 2005 alone, the proportion of students who abused prescription painkillers like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin shot up 343% to 240,000 students; Ritalin and Adderall (stimulants), 93% to 225,000; Xanax and Valium, 450% to 171,000; and Nembutal and Seconal (sedatives), 225% to 101,000” (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse). It is clear from this published research, that traditional “old fashion” street drugs aren’t the only substances being abused by teenagers as well as young adults.

The health risk associated with “prescription medications” such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, Xanax and Valium include but may not be limited to “liver/multiple organ failure, decreased respiration rate, impotence, seizures, coma, blacking out, delirium, hallucinations (Percocet), Mood changes, muscle and bone pain, anxiety, aches, cramps, restlessness, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea (Vicodin) (Effects of Vicodin Abuse.

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(2014). OxyContin itself causes, “Liver/Kidney damage, Paranoia, Depression, respiratory failure, seizures decreased cognitive functioning and possibly death. While the substance otherwise known as Ritalin, can cause “Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, increased risk of both stroke and heart attack, liver kidney, lung damage, malnutrition, Psychosis, Depression” (Short- & Long-Term Side Effects of Ritalin & Stimulants in Children – Drug-Free World (2008). Furthermore, the drug Adderall, which is commonly used to treat HDHD in both children and young adults, can potentially cause death when it is mixed with alcoholic beverages.

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Lastly, the prescription drugs Xanax and Valium have been reported to cause Depression as well as dangerous “Heart irregularities” if taken for long periods of time (addiction).

How can we as a society turn this disturbing trend around? In order to combat the societal trend that is drug use and abuse (specifically focusing on the trend of consuming and abusing Prescription medications), we must root out and focus extensively on what exactly is causing such high rates of dependency and addiction. As it stands in our current society today, the issue resides within the fact that the prescription drugs mentioned in this essay (Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, Xanax and Valium) are frequently prescribed by hundreds of thousands of doctors within the medical field. Furthermore, because of the medical/Pharmaceutical industry and due to the popularity to these drugs, these medications have found themselves into the medicines cabinets of millions upon millions of American households further adding to their “easy accessibility” amongst younger teenagers as well as adults of all ages. Consequently, the best method of dealing with our current prescription drug epidemic is to find other “alternative”, ever increasingly beneficial substances for consumption in addition to informing the general public about the potential dangers, misuse and abuse of Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, Xanax and Valium in addition to the traditional street drugs that are already well known yet still in many cases less widely available then prescription drugs.

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The Issue of Prescription Drug Abuse. (2022, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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