Since doctors prescribe opiates for pain relief, there are misconceptions about their safety. According to a 2011 Centers for Disease Control report, legal prescription opiates causes more deaths than overdoses from the combination of heroin and cocaine. Deaths from prescription pills also exceed the number of all motor vehicle deaths in the country.
Users may quickly become addicted. Because with more use, tolerance levels increase, thereby causing the need for more medicine to alleviate the pain. These drugs affect the same brain systems as illicit drugs, which can lead to addiction, overdose and death.
Unintentional drug dependence has caused horrifying consequences, including an intensely painful withdrawal experience. After being prescribed Vicodin and OxyContin to deal with pain, Chris McKay became addicted. His tolerance levels soared, forcing him to need up to 40 pills a day. Once his prescription ran out, he began to seek ways of obtaining the drug or substitutes, such as heroin.
Available on the streets, it is cheap and easily accessible as opposed to prescribed pills. McKay had to seek help to battle his opiates and benzodiazephine dependence.
Even though McKay is an adult who struggled with addiction, teens and young adults make up the next wave of users. Prescription drugs are easily accessible to teens, who can get them as easily as rummaging through their medicine cabinet at home, through friends and classmates, or through illegal Internet pharmacies.