Thursday, February 16, 2006

Illicit licit drug abuse

First a couple of “housekeeping” items:
Sorry for the appearance of what prior to “publishing” yesterday’s blog were 2 columns containing zips and the corresponding number of deaths by suicide.
Please note that all comments to this blog are moderated/reviewed prior to posting, so sometimes it takes a while for them to appear. Virtually all get posted, but some with references to specific names or Coroner’s cases will not be posted and there may be other reasons I feel they should not be posted. Others, like for today’s post, I use for idea source material.

Rx Abuse

Abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is on the rise. I got a question recently regarding the hazards of “snorting” Adderall at a “party”. While it remains at lower numbers than our cases of heroin and cocaine related deaths, deaths from prescription (and OTC) med use/abuse is a significant and anecdotally may be on the increase (we will continue to watch the trend). Also realize my office only becomes aware of fatal cases, so this may not reflect what is really happening on the “party’ scene. Nationally, there does indeed seem to be a trend.

We have seen more abuse of prescription pain meds, particularly Vicodin/Lortab (hydrocodone), with lesser amounts of OxyContin and others. As well, Adderall and Ritalin have been involved in a few cases, either swallowed or “snorted”. The latter drugs, being amphetamines, have the effect as “Meth” and/or Cocaine. Those effects would include euphoric high, elevated blood pressure, racing heart, heart attack, stroke and death. To many individuals prescription drugs seem “safe” because they are not illegal in the same sense as heroin, but it is illegal to divert, sell or give away someone else’s prescription drugs (let alone “fake” an Rx to get them). And, very importantly, prescription drugs are just as deadly when not taken as prescribed and under the advice and care of a licensed healthcare provider.

I should also add, in further response to the question that started this post: Snorting any drug brings on the effect greater and faster, the "amount" delivered to the system is greater, and ther risk of "over-dose" death is greater.

Use and abuse of prescription drugs can be deadly and they should not be a “party” snack.

No comments: