Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

OxyContin

 

Q.  How is OxyContin and other narcotics used?

Opioids Controlled drugs or narcotics most often prescribed for the management of pain. They are natural or synthetic chemicals based on opium’s active component – morphine – that work by mimicking the actions of pain-relieving chemicals produced in the body. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Q.  What are its short-term effects?

The most serious risk associated with opioids, including OxyContin, is respiratory depression. Common opioid side effects are constipation, nausea, sedation, dizziness, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, sweating, and weakness. Taking a large single dose of an opioid could cause severe respiratory depression that can lead to death.

Q.  What are its long-term effects?

Chronic use of opioids can result in tolerance for the drugs, which means that users must take higher doses to achieve the same initial effects. Long-term use also can lead to physical dependence and addiction–the body adapts to the presence of the drug, and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped. Properly managed medical use of pain relievers is safe and rarely causes clinical addiction which is defined as compulsive, often uncontrollable use of drugs.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Center Watch, Pharmacist’s Letter, The New
York Times

Prescription Pain Killers

Many young people abuse prescription pain relievers including:
Codeine, OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.

Q.  What are the short-term effects of prescription pain killers?

In some people, prescription pain relievers also cause euphoria or feelings of well being by affecting the brain regions that mediate pleasure, which is why they are abused. Other effects include drowsiness, constipation and slowed breathing. Taking a large single dose of prescription pain relievers can cause severe respiratory depression that can lead to death. Use of prescription pain relievers with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or general anesthetics, increase the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.

Q. What are their long-term effects?

Taken exactly as prescribed, pain relievers can manage pain effectively. But chronic use or abuse of opioids can result in physical dependence and addiction. Dependence means that the body adapts to the presence of the drug, and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal include: restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”). Tolerance to the drugs’ effects also occurs with long-term use, so users must take higher doses to achieve the same or similar effects as experienced initially. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.

Physical Dependence: When a person requires the regular use of alcohol or other drugs to continue to function, and develops withdrawal symptoms without the substance. (Join Together)

Tolerance: A condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect as experienced initially; often leads to physical dependence. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Addiction: A progressive, chronic, relapsing disorder that includes: craving for alcohol or other drugs and a compulsion to use them; inability to control substance use; and continued use in spite of negative consequences.
Other symptoms of addiction can include tolerance (development of resistance to a drug’s effects over time), physical dependence, psychological dependence, and withdrawal. (Join Together)

Abuse: Repeated use of alcohol and/or other drugs accompanied by failure to fulfill major responsibilities related to work, family, school or other roles and/or repeated use in situations that are physically hazardous; and/or repeated legal problems. (Join Together)

Source: NIDA

Sleep Aids/Tranquilizers Fast Facts

Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers, including: Mebaral, Quaaludes, Xanax, Valium (benzodiazepines) and Nembutal are medications that act as central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates are prescription sedatives or “sleeping pills” and benzodiazepines are prescription “tranquilizers.”

Q.  How are they used?

Medically, barbiturates are prescribed for acute anxiety, tension and sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines are prescribed for anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. When abused, they are swallowed or injected.

Q. What are their short-term effects?

Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers can cause euphoria. They also slow normal brain function, which may result in slurred speech, shallow breathing, sluggishness, fatigue, disorientation and lack of coordination or dilated pupils. During the first few days of taking a prescribed sedative or tranquilizer, a person usually feels sleepy and uncoordinated, but as the body becomes accustomed to the effects of the drug, these feelings begin to disappear. Higher doses cause impairment of memory, judgment and coordination, irritability, paranoid and suicidal ideation. Some people experience a paradoxical reaction to these drugs and can become agitated or aggressive. Using Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers with other substances – particularly alcohol – can slow breathing, or slow both the heart and respiration, and possibly lead to death.

Tranquilizers: Drugs prescribed to promote sleep or reduce anxiety; they are benzodiazepines, a class of central nervous system depressants. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant. When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The effects of alcohol are dependent on a variety of factors, including a person’s size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main reasons it is used in so many social situations.

Q.  What are their long-term effects?

Continued use can lead to physical dependence and – when use is reduced or stopped abruptly- withdrawal symptoms may occur. Because all prescription sedatives and tranquilizers work by slowing the brain’s activity, when an individual stops taking them, there can be a rebound effect, possibly leading to seizures and other harmful consequences. Tolerance to the drug’s effects can also occur, meaning that larger doses are needed to achieve similar effects as those experienced initially.  This may lead users to take higher doses and risk the occurrence of an overdose.  Addiction can also occur, meaning that users continue to take these drugs despite their harmful consequences.

-Source: NIDA

Physical Dependence: When a person requires the regular use of alcohol or other drugs to continue to function, and develops withdrawal symptoms without the substance.

-Source: Join Together

Tranquilizers: Drugs prescribed to promote sleep or reduce anxiety; they are benzodiazepines, a class of central nervous system depressants.

-Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Withdrawal: Physical changes occurring when a person stops or decreases very heavy use of alcohol or other addictive drugs. Withdrawal symptoms usually include shaking, sweating, rapid breathing, and agitation. Hallucinations or convulsions may also occur.

-Source: Join Together

Tolerance: A condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect as experienced initially; often leads to physical dependence.

-Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Any source listed as National Institute of Drug Abuse can be found at http://www.drugfree.org/portal/

Stimulants

Prescription Stimulants, including Adderall, Dexedrine , Ritalin: A class of drugs that enhance brain activity. Historically, prescription stimulants were used historically to treat asthma, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments, before their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent.

Addiction: A progressive, chronic, relapsing disorder that includes: craving for alcohol or other drugs and a compulsion to use them; inability to control substance use; and continued use in spite of negative consequences. Other symptoms of addiction can include tolerance (development of resistance to a drug’s effects over time), physical dependence, psychological dependence, and withdrawal. (Join Together)

Abuse: Repeated use of alcohol and/or other drugs accompanied by failure to fulfill major responsibilities related to work, family, school or other roles and/or repeated use in situations that are physically hazardous; and/or repeated legal problems. (Join Together)

Q.  How are they used?

Medically, they are now prescribed for only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and short-term treatmentof obesity. They are swallowed and may be injected when abused.

Treatment: Planned activities designed to change some pattern of behavior(s) which has led to substance use problems, and medications that help with withdrawal symptoms, craving, and preventing relapse. Typical activities for the treatment of alcoholism and/or drug dependence include detoxification, individual or group counseling for the addicted person, education and counseling for the family, and a structured residential program for those who have been unsuccessful in abstinence in less structured settings. (Join Together)

Q.  What are their short-term effects?

Stimulants increase the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which increases blood pressure and heart rate, constricts blood vessels, increases blood glucose, and increases breathing. Effects can feel like an increased alertness, attention, and energy along with a sense of euphoria. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure (heart attack) or lethal seizures.

Q.  What are their long-term effects?

Stimulants can be addictive as individuals begin to use them compulsively. Taking high doses of some stimulants repeatedly over a short time can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia. Additionally, taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperatures and an irregular heartbeat. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure (heart attack) or lethal seizures.

-Source: NIDA Research Report on Prescription Medications

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