Prescription Drug Abuse

shutterstock_53794111 Drug addiction is life changing. It changes who you are, how you act, and how you relate to others. It skews reality and your perception of who you are and what your place in the world is. It destroys relationships that have taken lifetimes to build. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and we are seeing more cases of this type of addiction as time goes on. This is especially true for those aged 14-25. What is even more troubling is where the drugs are coming from.

More often than not, the prescription medication that is being abused comes from the medicine cabinets in their own home. Leftover medications from surgeries, prescriptions meant for others in the family, or even things that they are being prescribed themselves, are finding their way into the hands of others.

Prescription drug abuse also seems to be taken more lightly and is generally more socially acceptable. This is largely because people don’t think of them as “street drugs”, like heroin and cocaine. The truth of the matter is that just because they aren’t street drugs, doesn’t mean they aren’t any less addictive or harmful. These medications can be extremely harmful to the body, and without the proper precautions, can cause death. The toxic effects of these medications are often unknown to those that are taking them, which is why we have been seeing an increase in prescription medication related deaths.

So how do we make the younger generations aware of the consequences of drug shutterstock_62275720addiction? Scare tactics don’t often work, and just simply telling them to say no isn’t often enough. This is where awareness and education come into play. It is so important that we are giving them the right amount of information to make good choices, but it is also important that we have open lines of communication with them. These open lines of communication will allow them to feel comfortable coming to us when they make mistakes and choose to try drugs.

Prescription drug abuse doesn’t need to happen. Addiction to these drugs is preventable. So what are some ways that you can prevent your medications from falling into the wrong hands?

Keep medications in a safe and secure place. Keep your medications out of sight. Don’t leave them in a readily accessible place for your children or others to get into them. Make sure that you keep track of how much you are taking and if some go missing.

Dispose of your medications properly. Pharmacies are more than happy to help you dispose of old and unused medication for you. By bringing your medication to them when you are finished taking them, you are reducing the likelihood that someone in your home will abuse them.

Protect those that you love. Lock up your medications and reduce the temptation. And above all else, encourage education and awareness about prescription drug abuse.

Addicted at Birth: Children of Mothers That Abused Drugs During Pregnancy

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Purity. Innocence. Gift.

These are just a few of the many words that are used to describe children. However, for some children a lifelong battle for survival begins before they are born. There are debilitating diseases and gene mutations that can cause a child a great deal of pain and suffering. Some of these children are born to mothers that choose to abuse drugs during their pregnancy.

Now while we are all told that drugs will ruin our lives, we have only been given the reasons that affect us (malnutrition, addiction, infection, overdose, etc.). It is important to remember that when we abuse drugs, we are putting not only our own lives at risk, but potentially those of our unborn children.

Drugs cross our blood-brain barrier (BBB), which is how they produce the effects that they do. Drugs will also enter the placenta, and in turn the fetus, having harmful effects. In some cases, the drug is so addictive that the baby will become dependent on it before birth and need to be helped through withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Depending on the drug there are varying effects on the unborn child. These effects include:

  • Placental rupture
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Oxygen deprivation leading to low birth weight and/or brain damage
  • And if used frequently, serious birth defects

It is important to consult a healthcare professional throughout your pregnancy, especially if you are using/abusing drugs. Sometimes your doctor will put you on methadone until the baby is born to reduce the risk of miscarriage/placental rupture.shutterstock_135236594

When pregnant, it is important that you take care of your body not only for yourself but for your unborn child. While it may seem impossible, it is necessary to help ensure that you will have a happy and healthy baby. There are many programs that will offer support and guidance for pregnant women as they face a unique struggle.

Our future lies in the hands of those that come after us. In order to have a bright future, we must raise a generation in which strong morals and sense of purpose are instilled. Give your child a fighting chance to be a future leader by preventing and/or discontinuing drug use during pregnancy.