Drug Abuse On The Rise Locally and Nationally

 Pharmaceutical drug abuse is a growing epidemic

(HealingTalks) Drug use and addiction have become widespread in  our society. Several studies about the recent drug abuse statistics have shown how significantly the population of drug abusers has increased. A 2010 report has shown that almost 8.7% of Americans over the age of 12 are dependent on drugs, prescription or otherwise. Understanding the statistical data is key to understanding the true scale of the issue.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs are generally given to patients when non-addictive medications are no longer effective. The associated side effects can be devastating, even lethal. Pain medications especially are highly addictive, so much so that patients go through withdrawal.

The biggest problem with prescriptions drugs is that they are used without a prescription. Like any drug, users want the physical and emotional relief that can be achieved through opiates such as morphine. However, the most common side effect of morphine is depression of respiratory system function which can eventually lead to respiratory arrest.

Psycho Stimulants

Psycho stimulant drugs such as amphetamines are widely used without a prescription as well. Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin can provide a short-term “high.” Adderall and Ritalin were created to treat Attention Deficit Disorder, so create periods of increased, almost manic concentration before a debilitating crash. Though college students are known to use Adderall to pull all nighters, statistical studies show that most users are teenagers. In fact, it has been established that one out of seven teenagers claims to use psycho stimulants.

It is not uncommon to mix drugs. The most commonly combined drugs are heroin and cocaine, one of which is a depressant and the other a stimulant. In combination, one can suffer massive health effects and risk death.

Effects on the Population

Drug users do not die just from physical effects of the drugs but also die from self-inflicted circumstances. Recent statistical studies also show that the number of individuals attempting and committing suicide due to prescription drug use is increasing. This is because increased doses of depressants such as opiates can lead to severe depression.

In an August 2012 report, the CDC labelled prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. This means that it affects an alarming percentage of the population. It has become important to educate oneself on the effects of drug abuse on the individual and the population.

Natural Alternatives

Those who self treat depression by escaping into drugs could instead make a change in their diet. Foods containing elevated amounts of Vitamin B can alter one’s mood for the better. Vitamin B contains Tryptophan which can be converted into serotonin. These types of foods include (but aren’t limited to) bananas, figs, and peanuts. Steering clear of the artificial sweetener aspartame is also beneficial as aspartame has been shown to depress serotonin levels.

If you’re having trouble concentrating, bananas can come to the rescue again. Along with boosting serotonin, bananas contain norepinephrine and dopamine, elements that are key to concentration. Spinach also is brain food for the long run. The B12 in spinach are integral to the creation of red blood cells which bring oxygen to the brain.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, there is help out there. Visiting Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is a great first step to getting educated and getting better.

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