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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

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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