Florida, a state once notorious for the frightening ease with which anyone could obtain a legal prescription for powerful narcotics, has cracked down on these pills mills. During a 6 month time period in 2010, there were 1,268 deaths related to prescription drugs in Florida. That is 7 deaths a day. Once a destination for people across the county trying to obtain prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, lawmakers and residents have taken steps to make it more difficult for people to obtain these drugs. It raises the question: how did it get so bad in the first place? A combination of unethical doctors, lack of regulations, ignorance surrounding the dangers of prescription pills and no means of tracking these prescriptions provided the ideal conditions for this epidemic to take off.
Current measures taken to fight this trend include making more arrests. However, arresting people for prescription drugs is complicated by the fact that these drugs are legal. While numerous doctors have been arrested for over prescribing these drugs, they can defend their actions by saying that thought that what they were prescribing was appropriate for the level of pain the patient was experiencing. Making arrests is further made more difficult because the drugs can be purchased legally and then distributed illegally.
Increase in prescription drug abuse, particularly opiates, has also been linked to an increase in heroin use. It is a sign of the progression of the disease of addiction. People who may have never done an illicit drug in their life can find themselves addicted to a painkiller that they were legally prescribed and when they run out or if the doctor stops prescribing it to them, they will turn to heroin which produces a very similar high.
People who use prescriptions drugs and combine them with other drugs are in even more danger of overdosing. Prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines and opiates, slow down breathing and when mixed with alcohol this effect is exacerbated and can lead to death. Also many prescription painkillers contain acetaminophen which when mixed with alcohol can lead to liver problems.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have a problem with prescription drugs, you are not alone. The care coordinators at There is a Solution are available 24/7 to answer your questions and work with you to find you the help you needs. You can contact us by calling (800) 832-5250.