75 years ago today, a legend was born that would forever revolutionize the music industry as we know it. An icon who still has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases of any performer: the King - Elvis Presley. A man born into poverty, yet easily carved his niche into the world of fame and fortune. Even though Elvis was among the rich and famous, he maintained his humble nature; giving everything of himself to family, friends, and fans alike...and they loved him for it. Sadly enough, like so many other talented performers, the life of luxury took it's toll. Not even The King himself was immune from the demons in life that so many battle, and in the end it cost him his life. The killer itself? Addiction to prescription drugs. The overdose was accidental, but fatal just the same. Back in the 70's, going to rehab wasn't a commonplace solution for someone with an addiction. Perhaps if Elvis knew then what we know now, the King could have entertained us a little longer. Still, the addiction to prescription drugs didn't end with Elvis's reign as King. In fact, the problem has become somewhat of a monster for society these days; one that has society "all shook up." (for your entertainment, of course)
About 7 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2007, the last year for which data is available. This exceeds the number of those who abused cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin combined. Not all abusers, however, were taking drugs specifically prescribed for them, but rather other people. Recently in newspapers and websites everywhere there has been a flood of articles pertaining to cities across the US engaging in a battle against prescription drugs. While all ages are of course affected, the main focus is on the youth of America. The drugs most commonly abused can be broken down into three basic categories.
Painkillers for severe pain following surgery or for the suffering of a chronic condition. Among these are: morphine, Darvon, OxyContin, Vicodin, and Dilaudid. Opioids are appealing not only for their pain-killing value, but also for the feelings of euphoria they can cause, even at the prescribed dosage amount. An overdose of opioids can cause your breathing to slow to a dangerous level.
Central Nervous System Depressants
Slow the brain's ability to function and are used for treating anxiety, stress and sleep disorders. Among these are: Mebaral, Valium, Ativan, Restoril, and Xanax. Dangerous when combined with other drugs, especially alcohol.
Used to enhance brain activity, and also to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Among these are: Dexedrine and Ritalin. Dangerous side effects include: rapid heartbeat, burst blood vessels, fever and fatal seizures.
Why Is prescription drug abuse on the rise?
Several theories abound for this situation, including the availability of such drugs to almost anyone. Some web-based pharmacies sell drugs without a prescription or in-person consultation. This makes it easy to get multiple prescriptions simply by using various online pharmacies. Another theory is the aging baby boomer population. More and more senior citizens are being given prescription drugs these days, especially painkillers which are the most commonly abused prescription medications.
How is this addiction treated?
Addiction typically needs to be treated physically and psychologically, which involves some type of therapy along with medication. Therapy will come in handy to help the abuser not only recognize their habit, but to learn how to deal with it and combat it. Medication is usually prescribed (ironic, huh?) to help offset the effects presented by the drugs being abused. Most doctors feel that it is better for a patient to ease off the drug naturally under supervision of a physician. This way, once the patient breaks away from the dependancy, they are less likely to fall back into addiction if they have a relapse.