What You Should Know About Prescription Drug Use
Most drugs have been created to help people, including antibiotics, vaccines, and drugs to fight disease or ease pain. When used correctly and prescribed for a doctor, they can work wonders. But when used without a prescription, they can become incredibly dangerous, especially to young adults and adolescents.
Drugs are chemicals, designed to change the way our body works. They come in many forms: pills, injections and inhalants—but the goal is the same: to get the drug into your bloodstream. In order for a drug to be effective, a doctor must prescribe it taking into account your health history, weight, age and body chemistry. It must be determined how much you need, how often you need it, and the conditions needed to ingest or administer the drug.
Drugs can intensify or dull your senses, alter your body chemistry and even affect the way you make decisions. To take a drug without a prescription is incredibly dangerous. To take multiple drugs without prescriptions is playing with fire.
Some kids think it’s fun to take drugs and have “pharming” parties, where everyone brings prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets and shares them. Often, they take more than one kind of pill at a time, not knowing if there will be a dangerous reaction between the drugs, or even if they are taking something they could be allergic to! This is a very dangerous practice, which can result in side affects like vomiting, elevated heart rate or blood pressure, unconsciousness and even death.
Amphetamines are stimulants that come in pills or tablets, and can be ingested or snorted. They are often prescribed as diet pills, as they accelerate functions in the brain and body.
Slang: speed, dexies, uppers and bennies.
- Increased heart rate and breathing
- Elevated blood pressure
- Sweating, shaking, headaches, blurred vision, sleeplessness
- Diarrhea (never pleasant!)
- Intense feelings of power, alertness and energy
- Can cause hallucinations and intense paranoia
- Very psychologically addictive
- Withdrawal symptoms include aggression, anxiety and intense drug cravings
- Intense mood swings
- Diarrhea (yuck!)
Stimulants are drugs that enhance brain activity. They include Adderall, Dexadrine and Ritalin. They are traditionally used to treat narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and short-term treatment of obesity. Abusers swallow them or inject them.
- Increased alertness attention and energy
- An intense sense of well being
- Heartbeat races
- Quicker breathing
- Can create feelings of hostility or paranoia
- Increases blood pressure and heart rate
- Constricts blood vessels
- Increases blood glucose
- Increases breathing
- Heart attacks and seizures
- Dangerously high body temperatures
Sedatives and Tranquilizers
Nembutal, Valium, Mebaral, Quaaludes and Xanax are just a few of the depressants kids are using. They’re used to treat anxiety, tension, panic attacks and sleep disorders. They slow down brain activity, resulting in a drowsy or claming effect. They are pills that are swallowed or injected.
- Slurred speech
- Shallow breathing
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Disorientation and lack or coordination
- Dilated pupils
- Higher doses cause memory impairment, irritability and paranoid and suicidal ideation
- Can slow breathing
- Can slow heart and respiration, leading to death
- Highly addictive
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Use can lead to seizures