Prescription drug abuse: the nation’s next epidemic

Jonathon Smith

An epidemic has swept the nation by storm, and almost nothing is being done to stop it. Everyday more and more people are becoming addicted to prescription medication.

Overdose is a serious risk with these drugs.

Many take pills in combination with others, creating deadly cocktails that kill numerous people daily.

Often, addicts smoke pills such as Oxycontin because the high is induced even more quickly, though this poses even more obvious health risks.

It saves the user money though, as it is a more cost effective way of administering the drug.

Hospitalizations and overdoses are on the rise as addicts become more numerous.

In 1999, there were 43,000 hospitalizations resulting from prescription drugs, but by 2006 that number rose to 71,000.

Heroine and cocaine are some of the drugs that typically come to mind when drug addiction is discussed, but Xanax and Oxycontin are quickly replacing them as the drug of choice.

This makes absolutely no sense at all.

How can drugs that are produced by pharmaceutical companies and regulated by the government end up in the hands of addicts?

Simply stated, there isn’t much regulation.

In recent years, some states have begun to realize the lax in secure distribution and have taken steps to regulate it.

Virginia, for example, created a database in 2001 to record prescriptions and prevent the practice known as “doctor shopping.”

This is the process of going to a number of different doctors and pharmacies to acquire as many pills as possible.

In states like Florida though, no database exists. Patients are free to travel to as many doctors as they want for as many pills as they desire.

In Florida’s Broward County, the situation is downright disgraceful.

Pill dispensaries literally blanket the town, and provide the easiest access in the nation.

Normally, pharmacies and doctors are separated to remove any financial incentive a doctor may have for writing prescriptions.

In Broward though, physicians are hired by the pharmacies to write prescriptions on the spot.

This makes it even easier to get them, as greedy doctors often rush to write as many as possible.

This is unacceptable and it’s time that something is done about this.

The war against drugs will never be easy, especially with prescription drugs being easier to obtain because their distribution is open.

Federal law needs to mandate that a nationwide database be compiled and implemented to record an individual’s prescriptions and prevent them from obtaining massive quantities of pills.

This simple solution would dramatically reduce the amount of pills that find their way into the hands of addicts.

About Author

These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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