While many in our society think of the “drug problem” as the importation of illicit substances from foreign countries, prescription opioids (pain killers), like Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, and Lortab are major drugs that are abused by the general public and they are drugs developed right here in the USA.

Used effectively, these drugs can help in the treatment of pain, but they are now also the most prescribed class of medications and second only to automobile accidents in causing accidental deaths. According to the Caron Treatment Centers, opioids are the number one cause of accidental deaths in Connecticut and 10 other states, and the number one cause of all deaths in the age group 18-44 years, with 39,000 Americans dead in 2010 of preventable overdose. Overdose rates can be correlated to the number of legal prescriptions written per zip code.

The following facts should be understood and considered when using prescription drugs and abusing these drugs should not be an option.

  • Opiates affect the brain at a different level than do any other drug
  • Opiates are to be used for short periods of time. They were not made to be taken over long periods
  • Opiates are designed to be release over a period of time and not to be snorted, getting the full dose at once. This can cause your heart to stop
  • Opiates tend to numb out emotions for long periods of time
    • Including but not limited to: happiness, sadness, depression or feeling good
  • When opiates are used, feelings of positive or negative emotions can be completely repressed until after a year of abstinence
  • 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription drugs for the first time everyday
  • Opioid pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin are responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined
  • Death from drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the US. Out pacing deaths from suicide, homicide or traffic incidents
  • In CT, drug poisoning is the leading cause of accidental death among adults. CT is one of the 16 states in which deaths from overdose is more common than death from vehicular accidents
  • 1/3 of parents believe that ADHD medicine can improve a teens academic or testing performance, even if that teen does not have ADHD
  • 1 in 5 teens has used prescription drugs
  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing someone who abuses prescription drugs
  • 1 in 3 teens surveyed says there is “nothing wrong” with using prescription drugs “Every once in a while”
  • Prescription drugs are abused more than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine combined
  • Majority of teens (8 out of 10) get prescription drugs from friends or relatives by stealing, buying or simply asking for them
  • Teens believe that prescription drugs offer a safer way to get high, help to cope better with stress or increase performance in school or on the sports field
  • Increase in blood pressure or heart rate, organ damage, addiction, difficulty breathing, seizures, deaths, becoming paralyzed; these are just SOME of the dangers than can happen when abusing prescription drugs
  • ANY teen or adult is susceptible to misusing drugs, even the most reliable of people
  • According to the 2007 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, dealing with pressures and managing school-related stress is the number one reason why teens use prescription drugs
  • Opioid Overdose signs
    • Will not wake up
    • No response when to yelling or screaming
    • Clammy, cool skin
    • Blue lips or fingernails
    • Shallow, slow breathing
    • Pinpoint pupils
    • Slow pulse or heart rate
    • Seizures or convulsions
    • No response to knuckles being rubbed hard on breastbone
  • In 2010, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control concluded that drug overdoses were responsible for 38,329 deaths- 30,006 of which were unintentional; 6,748 people are treated every day for the misuse or abuse of drugs
  • We have experienced a 102 percent increase of drug overdose death rates from 1999 to 2010
  • Prescriptions for opioids have increased 1000% since 1997.
  • Prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone are driving the increase in fatal drug overdoses.

Older people make up 1/3 of the population/ People 65 years and over are taking 1/3 of all prescriptions that are prescribed.

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