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6 things you need to know about prescription drug abuse

Last night was the sixth trip to the emergency room this year. Your teenage daughter was suffering from some invisible pain in her stomach. The last few months it seems like it's always something that has you driving her to the hospital or to the doctor.

You're starting to mentally calculate the amount of pain medications that have cycled through the house during the year. Between that and the number of times your daughter has complained of mysterious pains that the doctors are unable to diagnose, you are starting to suspect that not all is as it seems. You might have a serious drug problem in your house.

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that affects teenagers and adults in Ohio and across the U.S. While prescription drug abuse often starts with multiple trips to the doctor for phantom symptoms, it can progress to a level where the abuser is obtaining the drugs illegally. This not only puts her health at risk, but can result in charges for illegal drug possession.

Read below for information on the risks of abusing prescription drugs.

Commonly abused drugs

Drugs that fall into the opioid and pain reliever category, as well as depressants and stimulants, are the most heavily abused of prescription drugs. These types of drugs are inexpensive and typically easy to obtain.

Methods of abuse

Most prescription drugs come in tablet form. This gives the abuser several choices for consumption. Some people choose to take the drugs orally, crush them into a powder to inhale, or the tablets might be dissolved in water and then injected.

Identifying the abuser

Studies have indicated that approximately 36 million people in the U.S., aged 12 and older, have abused prescription drugs. Abuse runs particularly high among high school students, with many of them abusing amphetamines, barbiturates, and even tranquilizers.

Risks of abuse

The risks depend on the type of drugs that are being abused. Life-threatening respiratory problems can result from abusing opioids, narcotics, and pain relievers.

People that abuse depressants may suffer from seizures, decreased heart rate, and complicated respiratory issues.

Stimulants cause irregular heart rate, seizures, and even cardiovascular system failure.

Many people that abuse drugs can show signs of hostility and paranoia. Those that use needles to inject drugs can expose themselves to Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other diseases that are carried in the blood.

Obtaining prescription drugs

Prescription drugs can be obtained from friends or family members that have legitimate prescriptions and are willing to give away or sell the drugs. Sometimes they can be bought from pharmacists or doctors that are illegally dealing on the side.

Some users will steal the drugs from other individuals or even from school infirmaries.

Illegal use

The use, consumption, and distribution of prescription drugs without a legitimate prescription is illegal. The penalties vary depending on the type of drug. Usually, the harder the drug, the harsher the penalty you can expect.

The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious matter. If your child has been charged with an illegal prescription, it is important you understand her rights and options for treatment.

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