Prescription drug addiction increasing, causing serious problems

Prescription drug addiction increasing, causing serious problems

Story and Video by Coleman Armes and Susie Shahsavari

Jason Kessler, a pharmacist at Coppell’s Walgreens, has witnessed the affects of prescription drugs first hand.

One of his many encounters with this drug problem came when he worked at a Walgreens in south Dallas. He says that while he was working a night shift there he got a call every night for about six nights in a row.

The man, who was obviously high from prescription drugs, on the other end would start singing. He would sing about how cocaine didn’t have anything on hydrocodone, which is a pain relieving prescription drug. After six nights the man stopped after Kessler threatened to call the police.

But Kessler just doesn’t see the problem in south Dallas he has noticed it here in Coppell.

“Last week I had a prescription from a Houston physician for five narcotic prescriptions and all of them were fraudulent after certification from the doctor,” Kessler said.

He also points out something very disturbing.

“The prescription drugs are cheaper and easier to access. All people have to do is say I’m in pain and if the doctor believes you are than they can prescribe you medicine. This is because there is no real way to know if someone is actually in pain,” Kessler said.

Prescription drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. The abuse of these was also the cause of actor Heath Ledger’s death. Actor Mathew Perry and talk show host Rush Limbaugh also admitted to being addicted to prescription drugs at one point.

Many times people use these drugs at first to help with depression, pain relief, lack of sleep and other things. After a while though people think that using more than the prescribed amount will help them faster and be overall more affective at solving their problem. This and the euphoric feeling these people get from the drugs leads to an addiction.

“I had a friend who used to take prescription drugs. The friend would always say that they weren’t as harmful as cocaine or pot. They definitely were not the same though and not safe. After realizing this they decided it was time to quit,” an anonymous Coppell High School junior said.

Another shocking fact is that one out of every 10 high school seniors admits to abusing a powerful prescription painkiller.

There is a growing problem and more people are starting to take notice.

“Kids and parents think that prescription drugs are safer because they are prescribed by a doctor and not sold on a street corner,” Student Resource Officer Cayce Williams said.

Many people say that the easy access of these drugs contributes to the problem.

“If you have unused or expired drugs in your house than get rid of them because the availability of it causes these problems. It doesn’t take rocket science to connect the dots,” health science teacher Brenda Brinkman said.

Many people these days are going to a friend’s, family member or their own medicine cabinet and taking left over prescription drugs to get high.

Many times this leads to a very destructive activity: Pharm Parties. These take place when people grab as many prescription drugs as they can from their house and go to a party with other people who have done the same thing. Then when they get to the party they all put the drugs everyone has brought out on the table. From there everyone grabs pills at random and starts to mix these together. Then they smoke the concoction they have just created.

This can be very dangerous not only because they are abusing a drug but also because they might have chosen two different drugs that go against each other. One can only imagine what negative outcomes can occur from someone doing something like this.

As you can see this is not just something small anymore that should be pushed to the side. This is a growing problem that must be stopped. This can be done by getting rid of leftover prescription drugs around the house, not taking more than the required amount and looking out for and helping people you see that are suffering from an addiction. This problem won’t go away by doing nothing, take action.

Prescription Drug Abuse from Coppell Student Media on Vimeo.