Prescription Drug Abuse
It’s no secret that sizzurp continues to make headlines on the Internet lately. Many are curious about what is sizzurp and why it’s considered dangerous. One of the main ingredients of this cocktail drink is a prescription cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine.
For those who do not know, codeine works by suppressing cough while promethazine works by blocking the action of histamine to reduce symptoms of allergies, such as runny nose, sneezing or nausea. The use of codeine/ promethazine syrup must be supervised by a physician.
Codeine/promethazine syrup should not be taken by people who are allergic to codeine-related medicines or any ingredient in codeine/promethazine syrup. It is also not recommended for patients with severe drowsiness, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, fever, diarrhea caused by food poisoning or antibiotic use, and productive cough. Additionally, pregnant women and patients with history of heart problems, low blood pressure, seizures, substance abuse, liver or kidney problems, and bladder problems must share these conditions to their health care provider before taking codeine/promethazine syrup.
In general, codeine/promethazine syrup is a safe medication as long as it is taken according to a doctor’s prescription. But like any other medicines, it has some side effects — the most common are dizziness; drowsiness; constipation; headache; blurred vision; and dry mouth, throat, or nose.
When taken in large amounts or combined with alcoholic drinks for recreational use, codeine/promethazine syrup may trigger more dangerous impact, such as confusion, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, tightness in the chest, seizures, tremors, and uncontrolled muscle movements.
The largest city in Yolo County, California, is doing everything it can to combat prescription drug abuse among its residents.
On April 27, residents of Davis were encouraged to participate in a Take Back Initiative organized by the Davis Police Department (DPD) in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For six consecutive years, DPD has been running the collection event to make sure unused, unwanted and expired prescription medication are not landing on the wrong hands.
“During the span of those four hours that we did the event, we collected 315 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medication,” Lt. Glenn Glasgow told The California Aggie.
The DPD holds the collection event twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. All collected prescription medicines are dispose through incineration, in accordance with federal and state environmental guidelines.
Glasgow said the event is their way to prevent potential abuse and addiction by children, teens, as well as adults. “We view it not only as a community service to assist people in discarding their unused, unwanted and expired medication properly because it could pose a threat to the environment if they are discarded improperly. We also view it as a way of hoping to avoid people being able to access prescription medication that was not prescribed to them,” he added.
Previous research showed that individuals who abuse prescription medicines usually get the drugs from people they know, such as friends and relatives. Thus, public health officials have been steadfastly reminding those with Rx medicines at home to store and dispose their pills properly to keep them away especially from kids.
Twelve years since leaving The White House, former president Bill Clinton remains active in public life, giving speeches, participating in fundraising, and founding charitable organizations. Most recently, he became part of the growing number of public figures waging war against prescription drug abuse.
On Monday, May 6, Clinton appeared at a New York University panel discussion on prescription drug abuse, in which he expressed his concern over the lost of balance “between the legitimate use of pain medicine and the systematic abuse or misuse of it.” The panel included Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, National Institute On Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow, and NYU President John Sexton.
“This is insane to have the brightest of our young people dropping out under conditions of which their addiction has not been treated or their abuse is out of ignorance,” Clinton said.
Kelly, who served under Clinton as U.S. Customs Service commissioner, said prescription drug abuse is associated with violent crime. He mentioned that the rate of emergency room visits related to painkillers nearly tripled in the city between 2004 and 2010.
“The NYPD has seen firsthand the destructive power of addiction to Oxycontin,” Kelly said. “One of our own police officers who became addicted to the pills after incurring an injury on the job began robbing drug stores at gunpoint. He, like many others we’ve seen, demanded Oxy by name, but left the cash in an open register untouched.”
In addition to shedding light on the issue of prescription drug misuse, the panel discussed how the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), the New York City Police Department, and others plan to contribute solutions in New York and nationwide.
Prescription drug abuse affects millions of people in the United States. In 2010 alone, more than 12 million Americans reported using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons.
People who abuse prescription painkillers get drugs from a variety of sources. But among the most common include obtaining the drugs for free from friends or relatives, and through doctor’s prescription.
Initially, a person would ingest Rx medicines to achieve a feeling of euphoria. But the habit can eventually lead to addiction wherein a person will start taking larger doses which can cause breathing to slow down — so much that breathing stops and result to a fatal overdose.
In 2008, prescription painkillers were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths, exceeding the death toll for cocaine and heroin combined. In 2009, the misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers resulted to more than 475,000 emergency department visits, a number that almost doubled in just five years.
To heighten people’s awareness on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with PBS News, put together a list of things you should know to help fight the recreational use of prescription medicines.
1. Drug overdoses now kill more Americans than motor vehicle crashes.
2. Enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate each American adult every four hours for one month.
3. Deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels in the past decade.
4. Roughly 1 in 20 people in the U.S. reported using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons in the past year.
5. You can help prevent prescription drug overdoses.
6. The prescription drug overdose epidemic can be stopped through effective public health interventions.
7. States can start or improve prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and use Patient Review and Restriction (PRR) programs.
8. States can enforce policies aimed at reducing drug diversion, abuse, and overdose.
9. States and communities can enhance access to substance abuse treatment.
10. Health care providers should use evidence-based clinical guidelines and practices to promote safe and effective use of prescription painkillers.
Ever wonder how many Americans are using marijuana, heroin, and prescription drugs?
The drug prohibition policies in the United States traces its roots back in 1914, but the term “war on drugs” was popularized in 1971 upon the declaration of then-president Richard Nixon. The goal of Nixon’s anti-drug campaign was to increase the size and presence of federal drug control agencies.
More than 40 years later, however, it appears that the number of people using and misusing banned substances are increasing, not to mention the emergence of newer substances that are getting kids “high” and sending some of them to emergency rooms for treatment.
Marijuana is still considered the most commonly abuse drugs in the U.S. with roughly 100 million Americans admitting to trying the drug at least once, according to the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.
Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report suggesting that one marijuana arrest happens every 42 seconds.
After marijuana there’s prescription drug abuse which is getting a lot of attention lately because of the increasing number of teens experimenting on them. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prescription drug misuse remains a top public health concern in the United States, with approximately 22 million people initiating nonmedical use of pain relievers since 2002. The figure was based from the combined 2010 and 2011 data indicating that rates of past year misuse among those aged 12 or older.
Among the states with the highest rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs were Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.
Ritalin and Adderall, drugs commonly prescribed in people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), were noted as among the top drivers in the increase of teen medicine abuse.
Given the growing rates of prescription drug abuse, drug manufacturers altered the formulation of OxyContin, another commonly abused Rx medicine, to prevent drug addicts from crushing and abusing it. However, this led to addicts turning to other prescription meds, as well as heroin.
In 2008, it is estimated that there were more than 200,000 current heroin users in the United States. Between 2008 and 2009, there had been an obvious increase in lifetime heroin injection use among 10th graders.
Fentanyl has become one of the most widely abused opioids among teens and young adults because of its euphoric effect. The drug is available in various forms, such as a liquid for injection, patch, and lollipop.
In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Street names for this potent synthetic opioid include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, Tango and Cash, and TNT.
Like other opiate drugs, fentanyl can be dangerous when used for recreational purposes. When mixed with street-sold heroin or cocaine, the effects can become even more harmful. Among the symptoms a fentanyl abuser may experience include dizziness, severe constipation, dry mouth, hives, vision problem, lethargy, headaches, depression, hallucinations, difficulty sleeping, shaking, swollen extremities, breathing difficulty, coma, tolerance, and addiction.
In 2009, emergency department visits associated with nonmedical use of fentanyl reached an estimated 20,945 — an 85 percent increase from the 11,211 ER visits in 2005, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).
But fentanyl abuse is not only a problem in the United States. In Australia, a 2012 National Coroners Information System (NCIS) report found fentanyl abuse was a factor in at least 50 deaths since 2010. That figure didn’t include the 32 deaths linked to the drug that were still under investigation at the time the report was completed.
In Ontario, Canada, four overdoses of fentanyl were reported between 2008 and 2010.