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Beaverton is the fourth largest city in the state of Oregon, with a population of 89,803 according to the 2010 census. Located only 7 miles west of portland in the Tualatin River Valley. Named as one of the 100 “best places to live” by Money magazine, Beaverton is home to many who do not want to be bothered with the hustle and bustle of larger cities like Portland but the convince of living close. A a smaller city with the average middle class families living there, it would be a surprise to hear that many of its residents are abusing prescription drugs.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Most people have been prescribed a prescription, taking the drug for the reason the doctor intended with no intentions of abusing the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimate of 48 million people have abused prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons throughout their life time. That is nearly 20% on the United States Population. Most who have abused drugs were prescribed this medication, and like most had no intention on abusing it…”It just happened”. Throughout the years prescription drug abuse and addiction have increase dramatically. Many have had to enter into rehab programs to treat their addiction or have overdosed finding themselves rush to the ER, so have even died as a result of misusing prescription drugs.
Commonly Abused Prescription drugs
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there three classes of prescription drugs that are commonly abused. Opioids which are used to treat pain and highly addictive when misused. Central nervous system (CNS) depressants which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Stimulants which are used to treat ADD, ADHD, depression and many other problems.
- Opioid medications have been prescribed to treat pain since the early 1990’s, managing pain quite effectively and improving quality of life for those in chronic pain. Medications such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), meperidine (Demerol), and hydromorphone (Dilaudid). When these medications are used long term they typically lead to drug addiction, a physical dependence. Opioids induce a euphoric feeling, many mix with alcohol or other substances for increased effect but in fact they are at ricks of respiratory failure, even death.
- CNS (Central Nervous System) Depressants are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Medications commonly prescribed are, Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and triazolam (Halcion) and Barbiturates, including phenobarbital (Nembutal) and mephobarbital (Mebaral) . CNS depressants, such as these, affect the brain neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which works by decreasing brain activty, which results in a drowsy or calming effect. A tolerance to CNS depressants is easily developed after just a few short weeks of using the drug, requiring higher doses to feel any of the effects, this makes it highly addictive. Long term use of CNS depressants can be life threatening when stopped suddenly. Many use other substance such as alcohol in combination with CNS depressants which can slow down the heart and respiration, leading to death.
- Stimulants increase alertness, give energy and height attention. Medications commonly prescribed are methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall). When taking these medications as prescribed they are safe but many will use these medications to get high and develop an addiction. When using stimulants with decongestants, it can cause irregular heart rhythms, and high doses of stimulants can cause high body temperatures.