Prescription Drug Abuse

What would we want for our young adults? As future business owners, legislators and professors, they should be completing their educations, starting their careers, and giving the next generation its start.

Unfortunately, too many are getting their plans for the future derailed by prescription pain reliever abuse and addiction. As an example of one of the prescription pain relievers seeing the most growth, OxyContin was introduced to the United States in 1996. In 1998, only 1.5 percent of all drug addiction treatment admissions for those between 18 and 24 were for prescription pain relievers.

Some very effective marketing for OxyContin followed and prescription numbers began to skyrocket. By 2008, US sales of OxyContin alone topped $2.5 BILLION. And by 2008, treatment admissions for pain reliever addiction in the 18 to 24 age bracket hit 13.7 percent of all drug rehab admissions. The percentage of admissions for those between 25 and 34 increased from 2.1 percent to 13.5 percent over the same ten years.

“When it comes to abuse of prescription pain relievers, the only protection is a good education on drugs,” stated Bobby Wiggins, spokesperson for Narconon. Narconon is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of substance abuse and addiction through effective drug rehabilitation and education. “The person trying to sell you an 80 milligram OxyContin tablet is not going to warn you that the drug is addictive. And Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin is certainly not going to make this plainly known.”

When Purdue Pharmaceuticals was fined more than $630 million dollars in 2007, the US Attorney’s Office charged them with failing “to adequately warn consumers of the risks,” particularly the risk of addiction. But by 2007, it was too late for many people who had already become addicted or even overdosed on “Oxys.” Many other people will never read or hear about this charge and will make the very common assumption that “if a doctor prescribes OxyContin, it cannot be harmful.” Tragically, this will be a fatal assumption for some people. For others, it will rob them of their plans and goals, their families and perhaps even their freedom, if they are unlucky enough to become addicted and lose it all.


OxyContin or its generic version oxycodone is not the only prescription pain relief drug addicting our young adults. The list is long. By their generic names, the list includes: codeine, fentanyl (calculated to be at least 50 times stronger than heroin), hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine, pentazocine, dextropropoxyphene, methadone (used both for opiate addiction treatment as well as pain relief), and hydrocodone combinations sold as Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet. All opiates create euphoric effects when abused by crushing and snorting, injecting or smoking.


Most of those who succumb to prescription drug abuse are abusing more than one drug at a time and are not the holders of a legitimate prescription for the drug or drugs that killed them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found this in a statistical analysis of those who died of prescription drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2006.

More than 79 percent of these people actually had multiple substances in their bodies at the time of death. These multiple substances included other prescription drugs, alcohol and/or illicit drugs. The same analysis showed that 63 percent had no prescription for the drugs they were abusing.

Naturally enough, deaths follow the increase in prescriptions being issued and admissions to drug addiction treatment. The number of people dying due to unintentional opioid overdoses increased from 5,547 in 2002 to 11,001 in 2006, a 98 percent increase.

“Without sufficient education on the risks of abusing prescription drugs, young and old alike are taking their lives in their hands when they snort or shoot oxycodone, hydrocodone or any of these drugs,” stated Wiggins.

“That’s why Narconon drug and alcohol rehab centers around the world offer drug education classes to schools, civic groups and corporations, wherever young and career-minded people gather. “Addiction must be treated on both fronts: rehabilitating the addicted individual and preventing the young from using or abusing substances that might result in addiction. With both lines of attack at work, we intend to achieve a drug-free future for all.” Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and Narconon drug education groups operate from major cities on every continent.

For more information about the Narconon drug rehabilitation and education program, contact us by phone or email.

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