Doctors throughout American need to stop prescribing pain medication as if it were candy with no consequences. I have lost too many people to prescription drug overdose and it is still a rising problem in America. I lost my first friend at the age of 15 to methadone: a drug that is supposed to be used to aid heroin addicts through their withdrawals, as they get sober. This was my freshman year of high school and we were able to get our hands on dozens of different prescription medications as easily as buying candy at the local store. My close friend at the time was doing methadone with his best friend. One day, he gave him methadone to take at home. His friend took it, fell asleep, aspirated, and died. The parents blamed his death on my best friend and he never forgave himself. This was the start of his down spiral into harder drugs. He died this February, almost exactly ten years later, to a heroin overdoes.
When I was 17 I had a procedure done to help the pain caused my interstitial cystitis, a bladder disorder that makes you feel like you have a constant bladder infection. I was put under so they could put a balloon in my bladder and inflate it in hopes of expanding my bladder to relieve some of the pain I experienced from pain day to day. After the surgery I was prescribed 40 Vicoden tablets. The instructions were to take 1 tablet every 8 hours as needed for pain. This was enough for a 14-day supply. The pain I was in after the procedure called for Motrin 800, not a narcotic medication. I was 17, and I was prescribed the medication, so of course I took it, it made me feel great. Luckily, I was not one of the many who get addicted to prescription medication because of situations exactly like this.
In 2013 I lost a very close friend to another prescription medication overdose. McKenzie was not a drug addict. She smoked some pot and took a prescription pills recreational once in awhile. She stopped partying for a few months in order to apply for jobs. In October she decided to take some Morphine. She was with her friends and they all took it too. She was the only person not to wake up the morning of October 26. She was only 20 years old. She had so much life left in her.
I tell anyone that I meet that uses prescription drugs recreationally, “Taking these drugs, it’s the same as Russian roulette, there is no rhyme or reason as to who will die and when.”
Why is it so easy to get prescription drugs off of the street? I work in a pharmacy and every day I see at least 20 very strong narcotic drug prescriptions written for patients. They are written for migraines, arthritis, cramps, any ache or pain under the son. Most of these prescriptions are written by one of two doctors. These doctors are not pain management doctors they are general physicians. Every day I wonder why they are not being investigated by the DEA. How can you prescribe narcotics of hundreds of patients that do not need them? Are their patients paying them? Are they getting some of the drugs brought back to them for personal use? Are they just naïve the addictions they are creating? The deaths they could potentially indirectly cause?
What can we do to stop the distribution of narcotic medication to patients that do not need them? If there are less prescriptions written there will be less of them on the streets and then it will be harder for the general public to buy and consume. If it’s harder for the general public to buy there will be a decrease of addiction and death. We need to stop this down spiral. What can we do? We need to raise awareness. There has been a huge increase in heroin use and overdoes in the past decade. Why? Because once painkillers (opioids) become too costly the user can turn to a much cheaper alternative… heroin. American citizens need to come together, sign petitions, talk to doctors, create communities where these issue can be discussed. You don’t think this affects you, until it does.