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The Troubles with Prescription Drugs

Posted on :  March 25th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

While the general public recognizes the dangers of illicit street drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine, they are often unaware of the dangers of drugs that are deemed to be safe enough to be given in prescriptions. Over the past few decades, it has been a regular occurrence that celebrities die from overdoses caused by prescription drugs.

Popular Celebrities with Sad Endings

Some of the recognizable names include Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, Brian Epstein, and more recently Anna Nicole Smith, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson. Many of these celebrities turned to prescription drugs for problems with chronic pain or to manage other addictions. In most cases, the prescription drugs were not obtained illegally, but were actually prescribed by physicians who knew the celebrities well.

Awareness Comes from Death

Every time that a celebrity dies from a prescription overdose, it should bring more awareness to this problem that affects not only the rich and famous, but the everyday citizen, too. In North America, deaths from overdoses have tripled in the past 30 years and at least 100 people die from overdoses daily. The annual death rate is close to 40,000, just from prescription drugs alone. These deaths come from the fact that some prescription drugs have more dangerous qualities that the illegal street drugs and prescriptions drugs result in more deaths than all street drugs combined.

Commonly Abused Medications

Two of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are Vicodin and OxyContin. These two painkillers are so addicting that people will break into pharmacies to get their hands on these pills. The increase in prescription drug overdose deaths follows the increase in the prescriptions of these two drugs. Both are narcotics, so after a few weeks of taking these painkillers, they both develops a tolerance which is why the body begins to crave higher doses.

Following the Trends

Abuse of prescription medication is so common that only a few years ago, almost 500,000 emergency room visits were triggered by abuse of drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Just a few years before that, the number of emergency room visits caused by prescription drugs was less than 150,000. Could this be because over 10 million people use prescription painkillers without a prescription? Probably.

Look for Ethical Physicians

Despite the fact that there are many prescription drugs that are extremely dangerous, physicians prescribe them on a regular basis. In many cases, they prescribe them without providing any warning to their patients about the potential of addiction. This results in a large percentage people who abuse the drugs, because they take them the wrong way, with alcohol, or in too large a dosage. In many cases, prescription narcotics, tranquilizers, and sedatives should be taken in specific ways and especially not with alcohol or other drugs.

Learn from Michael Jackson’s Death

While there are many ethical physicians who take time to educate their patients about the risks of prescription medication, there are physicians who write prescriptions without any care in the world. When Michael Jackson died, the world was able to see what happens when a physician abuses the right to prescribe. Michael Jackson’s physician was found guilty of negligent manslaughter due to his mishandling of Jackson’s prescriptions. The physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was giving Jackson a powerful anesthesia, called Propofol. This medication is most commonly used in surgery, where patients are monitored throughout the procedure. Dr. Conrad gave this medication to Michael Jackson, but did not monitor him with an EKG or any other device. When Jackson’s body was examined, signs of Oxycontin and Demerol, both prescription drugs, were found. In his home, drugs like Methadone, Vicodin, Percocet, and nearly 20 other types were found, too. All of them were prescription pills.

The mistake came from Michael Jackson himself, who paid his physician to prescribe pills and take care of only him. A star-struck physicians receiving a big paycheck from a high profile client would have difficulty turning down any request. This situation is rather common in the world of celebrities, who have the money, time, and desire to relax in a painfree way.

Hopefully, no one else will ever die from an overdose of a controlled substance that can be obtained via prescription. But, we all know this will not happen.

If you or someone you love is abusing prescription medications, we encourage you to contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics. Our main number is 905-527-2042. We also receive emails at

Marijuana: Taking a Toll

Posted on :  March 19th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

At Towards Recovery Clinics, we work mostly with clients who are struggling with addictions to narcotics like heroin or prescription medications. We understand that heroin is not the only street drug that people are using in Canada. Marijuana is a commonly used drug and it comes with a plethora of problems that affects the users and the community as well.

Legalized, but Still Not Safe

Many people believe that marijuana is a safe drug to use and with legalization efforts in the United States; that belief is growing. While it is legal to grow cannabis in Canada, it is only with licenses from Health Canada. What people do not realize is that people who use marijuana have health problems related to car accidents and dependence of the drug. These two issues have been a financial burden on the people of Canada. The health problems related to psychosis and lung cancer due to marijuana use have also created a financial burden on Canadians, too.

Categories of Problems

Researchers have found that there are particular problems that are connected closely to the use of marijuana. In Canada, cannabis is used more than any other drug. Researchers used data relating to health problems, drug use, and death to come up with honest numbers about the real problems that stem from cannabis usage in Canada.

Car Accidents

When it comes to car accidents, close to 10 per cent of fatal or injurious car accidents were caused by drivers who were high on marijuana. It is a scary thought that one out of every ten car accidents happened to people who were under the influence of this drug. Imagine if one of your loved ones was hurt or killed by a driver who was high on marijuana.


The Canadian health care system estimates that about 80,000 people each year receive health care services based on their dependence to using marijuana. The number of people who actually abuse or are dependent on cannabis is nearly 400,000. This means that nearly 1 out of every 100 people in Canada has a dependency on marijuana. The odds are good that you know someone with a dependency to the popular street drug.

Lung Cancer and Smoking

Lung cancer is a problem that is being tied to marijuana use. While proving that lung cancer and marijuana use is connected is difficult for researchers, there are signs that point to a strong connection. Many people who smoke marijuana also smoke cigarettes, which can lead to lung cancer, too. Since lung cancer takes a while to develop in smokers, researchers do look closely at health histories before blaming cannabis use. But, despite the struggles finding cause, researchers were able to say that about 2 per cent of cannabis smokers suffered from lung cancer. This relates to about 250 deaths per year in Canada alone.

Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Psychosis is another problem that develops in the mind of cannabis users. Psychosis is a medically treatable mental illness where patients have difficulty with thoughts and emotions. They lose touch with reality. Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis. Researchers have found a connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia, especially with men and women who have a genetic predisposition towards psychosis. The researchers found that in Canada about 175 schizophrenia diagnoses were related to marijuana use.

Learn from the Numbers

With these findings, the Canadian health care service can be better prepared to help people with their addictions. Families in Canada can do a better job educating their children about the dangers of marijuana use, especially with secondary effects like car accidents and health problems. With the right steps, families can help their loved ones avoid using marijuana.

Contact us at 905-527-2042 with any questions about drug addiction and recovery.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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