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THE DOCTORS Discuss Prescription Medicine Epidemic
Please tune in to this important program...
(LOS ANGELES) - There’s no question that tragic death due to a lethal combination of prescription pills has been making headlines far too often in recent months. But this is not an issue exclusive to the rich and famous. On Tuesday, February 21, the hosts of the Emmy Award-winning syndicated television show THE DOCTORS (check local listings) takes a closer look at the issue at hand – addiction to pain-killers and the mixing of pills affects us all regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status.
Please tune in to this important program and see below for highlights specifically regarding one of the most vulnerable groups – teenagers.
1 in every 5 teens will use prescription pain meds (as prescribed or not).
1/3 of pain med abusers are between the ages of 12 and 17.
More than 20% of doctors visits result in the writing of a prescription for pain medications.
More than 15,000 deaths in the United States are the result of pain prescription overdose and/or a lethal mixing of medications; this is more than the deaths caused by using heroin, coke and all other illicit drugs, combined.
In just one day, more than 100 people die from accidental pain prescription drug overdose.
Ways Teenagers Obtain Prescription Meds:
Black Market – Illegally obtaining pain meds from dealers who can sell them for a hefty profit.
“Doctor Shop” – Visiting multiple doctors and complaining of pain that results in the writing of a pain med prescription.
Prescription fraud – Forging a doctor’s signature on a prescription pad, using false ID to obtain a drug or altering a valid prescription.
Stealing from the bottles of family members.
Partaking in a “chex mix,” “trail mix” or “pharm” party, where teens grab whatever they can find from their parents’ medicine cabinet, add it a big bowl at a party and ingest a few unknown pills from the collective bowl.
Athletes or students who have undergone surgery may have been prescribed Vicodin or OxyContin from a doctor, but these drugs are very powerful and incredibly addictive.
Instead of seeking counsel, some teenagers try to numb the emotional pain that can come with being a young adult and self-medicate undiagnosed depression or anxiety. Others use stimulants to try to get an edge on tests and studying.
The result? The wrong combination of pills or amount of drugs in the system will not only numb multiple forms of pain but also numb/hinder the ability to breathe.
Unfortunately, there is no “profile” for an abuser.
Have patients undergo urinalysis to see what is in their system.
Encourage their state to create a database so doctors can see what other doctors have previously prescribed to a patient (prescription drug monitoring).
For chronic pain, try alternative solutions (ex: acupuncture) or send their patient to a pain specialist.
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