Over 10% of today’s high school students have abused one or more prescription drugs. This video takes an in-depth look at prescription drug abuse, including Amphetamines, Barbiturates, and Opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. It conveys the message that a prescribed drug is only safe when taken by an ill person and only exactly as the doctor recommends. The video includes firsthand accounts of physicians’ experiences with overdose and addiction.
Amphetamines, like other powerful psychomotor stimulants, produce quick, severe, and debilitating addiction. They destroy social functioning and harm multiple vital organs with relatively brief abuse. Because amphetamines are tightly controlled, many abusers turn to other stimulants smuggled or manufactured in the black market, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
Barbiturates and the related class of drugs, benzodiazepines, are sedative-hypnotics used to treat short-lived anxiety disorders and seizure disorders. The mellow calm they produce can be attractive at first, but abusers quickly find themselves unable to cope with life’s ordinary challenges without the drugs. Addiction to barbiturates and benzodiazepines is crippling, and quitting the addiction without close medical supervision can be deadly. In addition, many abusers of these drugs have made the mistake of combining them with alcohol, with deadly results.
In the last few years opioid painkillers like Vicodin, and more recently, OxyContin, have become more commonly abused. These powerful painkillers are part of the opioid family, along with morphine and heroin. When taken orally, as they are by legitimate patients, hydrocodone and oxycodone produce a sleepy euphoria. Tolerance builds quickly, so users soon need to take more and more of the pills in order to feel the original effects. OxyContin abusers tend to snort or inject the drug, circumventing the “time-release” feature and creating a shorter, far more intense high, not unlike the rush of heroin. In fact, many “Oxy” addicts turn to heroin when they are no longer able to get OxyContin.