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Prescription drugs and their well-documented dangers

Prescription drugs are a more serious problem than ever in our society, and the drugs have been at the center of several high-profile robberies and killings over the past few years. Three years ago, on Father's Day 2011, prescription drugs took center stage following a murder at a Suffolk County pharmacy. The admitted killer, later convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the crime, murdered four in the pursuit of painkillers and other drugs.

More recently, a doctor from Queens was found guilty of manslaughter, for prescribing the now-imprisoned gunman medications, including oxycodone. He had also prescribed medications to other patients, who later died due to improper use of the medications.

Such a case is considered unique, since doctors have rarely before faced a trial, or conviction, for being reckless with prescriptions. But that is just how serious prescription painkillers are now considered in our society. Doctors in the New York area are now required to follow specific rules when prescribing these drugs, and often face fines or professional sanctions when they fail to do.

While these drugs are often not considered as dangerous as illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, prescription drugs are just as addictive- and often, just as deadly, if used improperly.

Oxycodone is among the most addictive prescription painkillers, and is often used to relieve moderate to severe pain. The drug, however, can be addicting even if administered properly by the user, and so it should never be taken in large dosages. It should also not be used by patients with severe asthma, a history of prescription drug use, or mental illness. For example, three years ago, the shooter in the Suffolk County pharmacy had a history of drug addiction, and should never have been prescribed painkillers by any doctor.

Hopefully, the recent outcome of the case will be a warning to doctors to properly document patient's medical history, and abstain from prescribing any painkillers from patients who should not be taking them.

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