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A Brief History
Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs is the recurrent use of medication without requisite direction and advice from a qualified medical expert. It also involves use of medication in contravention of expert advice and requirements (Boyd, 2007). Such abuse encompasses habitual use of prescription medication with a view to achieve good feelings and pleasure.
Most abused medication includes pain relievers and medication used to alleviate anxiety among patients. Statistical data indicate a high and alarming rate of abuse among African American adolescents in the United States. There are various manifestations of such abuse among young black adults in America. Due to this practice, there are increasing cases of hospital admissions because of complications resulting from abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. The numbers of registered deaths are currently on the rise (Boyd, 2007).
History of pharmaceutical drug abuse in America dates back over a hundred years. During that period, there was rampant use of laudanum, a derivative of opium and alcohol. Laudanum was a remedy for nausea, insomnia, anxiety, among other medical conditions (Boyd, 2007).
During early 19th century, doctors regularly prescribed the concoction to patients despite its high disposition to addiction. However, Caucasian women were highly susceptible to abuse of laudanum. Most men had susceptibility to abuse of alcohol and other forms of drugs. Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs among black adolescents became a serious problem in 1980s when the trend grew in popularity. Currently, many black adolescents in America commence abuse of prescription drugs in their pre-teen years (Boyd, 2007).
Cases of addiction to pharmaceutical drugs are increasingly becoming common in American society. There is a trend of abuse and addiction among individuals in the productive bracket of American society. The alarming rate of abuse and addiction emanates from various implicit and explicit factors that influence and determine the vice.
Such factors include social, demographic and economic factors. There are cultural factors that also determine likelihood of abusing prescription drugs (Boyd, 2007). Among African American adolescents, there is high prevalence of abuse and addiction with regard to pharmaceutical drugs. Prevalence of this practice manifests through numerous cases of individuals who face arrest and prosecution because of abuse of prescription drugs. In some cases, there is involvement of prominent personalities in society.
This is a clear indication of the inherent gravity of this matter. Abuse of prescription drugs is prevalent because of their availability in the market. Adolescents have easy access to prescription drugs through unscrupulous and dishonest doctors. Such doctors avail drugs to young people in full knowledge of the apparent dangers of their actions (Boyd, 2007).
Habitual use and abuse of prescription drugs leads to addiction and dependency. During initial stages of use, individuals derive pleasure and joy from such activities.
After a certain period of use, the body gets used to the drug. In order to achieve pleasure, it becomes necessary that the person must increase dosage. This trend continues and eventually escalates into an epidemic. Currently, many people have total dependence on prescription drugs. They face numerous challenges as they struggle to fight the vice that has potential to cause harm and even lead to death (Thomas, 2006).
As individuals fight the habit, they find it difficult to cope with life. There have been reported cases of suicide due to effects of pharmaceutical drugs addiction. Addiction to prescription drugs heralds numerous negative effects for society. It reduces productivity because addicts have difficulty in carrying out productive undertakings. Addicts are habitually unwell because of side effects that result from abuse of pharmaceutical drugs (Thomas, 2006).
Authorities should take necessary and urgent measures to correct the spiralling trend of abuse and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. Failure to institute such measures will usher in a generation that cannot support itself due to addiction and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. All relevant authorities and agencies have a responsibility to ensure that the young generation does not indulge in such activities because they lead to counterproductive behaviour (Thomas, 2006).
Treatment and care for addicted persons is costly and requires money and other resources. Authorities spend huge amounts of money to treat and rehabilitate addicts annually. Such funds and resources should go into other constructive national undertakings. Society should always endeavour to sensitize members on the apparent dangers of abusing pharmaceutical drugs. Such efforts will go a long way in reducing cases of abuse and addiction to prescription drugs (Thomas, 2006).
Policies on Addiction
Most individuals who abuse pharmaceutical drugs argue that they are safer and less harmful that other drugs. This misconception is responsible for high prevalence of abuse and addiction among young people in America. Various policy efforts seek to institute corrective measures with regard to this problem (Cicero, 2007). Through such efforts, people will learn the negative effects of using prescription drugs erroneously.
Efforts such as National Drug Control Strategy endeavour to deter abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in society. The strategy has measures that create awareness on pitfalls associated to abuse of prescription drugs. It advocates for proper acquisition and use of pharmaceutical drugs to avoid negative repercussions. It also creates awareness on proper and safe storage of pharmaceutical drugs to avoid alteration of their chemical qualities and components.
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Any alterations regarding composition of such drugs could lead to poisoning and possible death (Cicero, 2007). The strategy also involves monitoring of all activities relating to pharmaceutical drugs. Through Prescription Drugs Monitoring Programmes (PDMPs), the strategy seeks to evaluate and regulate acquisition and use of pharmaceutical drugs to ensure compliance to standards and regulations.
The strategy also provides mechanisms through which healthcare practitioners share critical information regarding use and sale of pharmaceutical drugs. As part of deterrence, the strategy proposes heavy fines and punishment for those found guilty of improper and illegal use of pharmaceutical drugs (Cicero, 2007).
Cases of addiction to pharmaceutical drugs are increasingly becoming common in American society. There is a trend of abuse and addiction among individuals in the productive bracket of American society. The alarming rate of abuse and addiction emanates from various implicit and explicit factors that influence and determine the vice (Cicero, 2007).
Such factors include social, demographic and economic factors. There are cultural factors that also determine likelihood of abusing prescription drugs. Among African American adolescents, there is high prevalence of abuse and addiction with regard to pharmaceutical drugs.
Prevalence of this practice manifests through numerous cases of individuals who face arrest and prosecution because of abuse of prescription drugs. Apart from young African Americans, other demographic segments indulge in this practice. The issue regarding abuse of pharmaceutical drugs is not unique to one demographic section in society. It is ubiquitous and prevalent across society (Gordon, 2006).
Treatment of addiction is complex because of various aspects that characterize the problem. Healthcare practitioners appreciate the complex nature of the issue and therefore apply various methods to fight the problem of addiction. The most popular means of treatment is therapy (Gordon, 2006). The addict attends therapy sessions where a therapist prescribes various procedural activities to alleviate the problem.
During therapy sessions, they share personal information with a therapist. Subsequently, they receive counselling services regarding their problem. The therapist offers tips on how the client can effectively abstain from abuse of prescription drugs. Apart from therapy, other medical procedures seek to reverse the ravages of addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. Such medical procedures materialize through crucial phases that mark the road to recovery (Gordon, 2006).
The field of social work and human services is an important domain that plays a critical role in provision of vital services to needy persons such as addicts. Social work and human services seek to offer an avenue for intervention and relief for persons who experience difficulties and challenges in various areas of concern (Paulozzi et al, 2006). Through social services provision, individuals have access to professional care and support that guarantee their social well-being and holistic existential circumstances (Paulozzi et al, 2006).
By offering such services, social work experts act as a bridge between individuals and the community. However, social workers should conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment in order to acquire a clear understanding of the recurrent individual needs. There should be clear policies to enhance and promote efforts against abuse of pharmaceutical drugs (Paulozzi et al, 2006).
There are numerous research undertakings with regard to the issue of abuse and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. Many scholars continue to institute research undertakings with a view to achieve a clear understanding on this issue. However, there is room for further research and studies regarding addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. Future research should focus on deterrence mechanisms to ensure reduction in cases of abuse and addiction. There is need for research on factors that lead to misuse of pharmaceutical drugs.
Boyd CJ, et al (2007). Prescription Drug Abuse and Diversion among Adolescents In America. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 161(3):276.
Cicero TJ, et al (2007). The Development of a Comprehensive Risk-Management Program for Prescription Opioid Analgesics: Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS). Pain Med 8(2):157.
Gordon SM, et al (2006). Knowledge and Use of the Internet as a Source of Controlled Substances. J Subst Abuse Treat 30(3):271.
Paulozzi, L. J., Budnitz, D. S., & Yongli, X. (2006). Increasing Deaths From Opioid Analgesics in the United States. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 15(9): 613-617.
Thomas CP, et al (2006). Trends in the Use of Psychotropic Medications Among Adolescents, 1994 to 2001. Psychiatr Serv 57(1):63.