Tampa, Florida (PressExposure) July 15, 2009 -- In America, more than 15 million people have abused prescription drugs - exceeding the combined number of people addicted to cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin - making up roughly 6% of the population.
More of those addicted are teenagers. Many teens using painkillers for a "high", believe them to be safer than street drugs and consider them non-addictive. But is that really the case? The answer: no.
Prescription painkillers are powerful drugs that interfere with the nervous system's transmission of the electrical signals we perceive as pain. Most painkillers also stimulate portions of the brain associated with pleasure. Thus, in addition to blocking pain, they produce a "high".
The Oxycodone is the painkiller with the greatest potential for abuse and the greatest dangers. Because it reacts on the nervous system like heroin or opium, some abusers are using one brand of oxycodone painkiller, OxyContin, as a substitute for, or supplement to, street opiates like heroin.
Armed robberies of pharmacies have occurres where the robber demanded only OxyContin, not cash. In some areas, particularly the eastern United States, OxyContin has been the drug of greatest concern to law enforcement authorities.
Long-term use of painkillers can lead to physical dependence. The body adapts to the presence of the substance and if one were to stop taking the drug abruptly, withdrawal symptoms occur. Or, the body could build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that higher doses have to achieve the same effects. Like all drugs, painkillers simply mask the pain for which they are taken. They don't "cure" anything. Someone trying to dull the pain may find himself taking higher and higher doses - only to discover that he cannot make it through the day without the drug.
For the person with a drug problem, there are real solutions to addiction. Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program that utilizes the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, has a success rate of more than 75% (www.narconon.org).
The best solution, however, is not to begin using drugs in the first place.