Prescription Painkillers Health Risk
The abuse of these drugs that were designed to give pain relief to the sick and injured is widespread, especially among young adults. A few statistics will tell the story:
- In 2010, more than five million people abused a prescription painkiller
- Among high school seniors, the most common drug being abused (after marijuana) was a prescription painkiller.
- Of those going to treatment for prescription painkillers, more than 58% were between 12 and 30 years old
- More than 17,000 entering treatment were under 21. Since this number includes only publicly funded treatment programs, the number is actually much higher.
Most prescription painkillers are derived in part or in full from opium or they are a synthetic form of the drug. A few have a slightly different chemistry but act in much the same way.
These drugs are well known for their ability to cause death by overdose, the same as heroin. Death occurs because the drugs suppress one’s ability to breathe. The user dies by suffocation. That truly is the ultimate health risk associated with prescription painkiller abuse—death by overdose.
Aside from this well-known health risk, there are many other ways that abused prescription drugs can harm one’s health, some that can end in fatality and some that can lead to injury and disability. If someone you know is abusing prescription drugs or if this is something you yourself are doing, you should know all the risks.
The organs that can be damaged by abuse of prescription drugs include the lungs, liver, kidneys, intestinal tract, heart and circulatory system. There are also blood borne diseases that can be contracted. Addiction itself presents risks that stem from the risky, marginal lifestyle that a painkiller addict tends to live. And there are several birth defects that are associated with use of these drugs by a pregnant woman.
Continue reading to learn about the specific threat to health or even one’s live from prescription painkiller abuse.