According to studies in recent years, prescription pain medications have caused the most deaths in the last 10 years because of accidental overdoses. The number of overdose related deaths surpass the number of deaths caused by cocaine and heroin combined. The fact that more people are using the medications for recreational purposes is another reason the death rates are rising. In 2010, 12 million people in the United States over the age of 12 admitted to taking prescription pain formulations without a prescription. It is interesting to consider which would be the top 10 drugs of choice in this category.
Physicians prescribe opioid pain medications for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Patients often need the medicine after surgery. Many different chronic medical conditions cause pain. The many medications that fall into this category include:
* Oxycodone-OxyContin, Percocet
* Morphine-Avinza, Kadian
Dangers of Pain Medications
Opioid analgesics reduce pain by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal column, gastrointestinal tract and various body organs. By binding to these sites, the medications interfere with nerve signal transmissions to and from the brain. With nerve cells unable to release neurotransmitting chemicals, the brain does not receive the message that pain exists. Some of these receptors are also located in the region of the brain known as the limbic system where emotions and pleasure are regulated. Pain meds binding to sites in this area produce the euphoric high that drug abusers seek.
In time, the body becomes tolerant, and the drug users need higher doses to get the same effect. However, problems begin when the medication binds with receptors in the brain stem where nerve cells regulate vital signs. When this happens, in the case of an overdose, heart rate and breathing slow down to dangerous levels. Blood pressure decreases because blood vessels relax and open. The individual loses consciousness, slips into a coma and dies if medical help is not available.
Overdoses may also occur when individuals mix pain medications from their top 10 drugs list with alcohol, anti-anxiety, antidepressants or other medications that cause central nervous system depression. The combination of substances in the body reduces vital signs, causes confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma and death.
Origination of Drugs
The majority of overdoses happen in people who have a prescription for the medication. In time, the drugs do not stop the pain as tolerance occurs. The individual then increases the dose or the frequency of the doses from their top 10 drugs store. If unable to get another prescription from one doctor, they often visit multiple physicians. People may also acquire the drugs by stealing them from family members, friends or family members of friends. Some may buy the drugs illegally on the street.
High Risk Categories
There are people having a higher risk of suffering a pain medication overdose. These people include individuals who get multiple prescriptions by manipulating more than one doctor. In time they develop a top 10 drugs cache. Other risk factors include taking more doses everyday than what was prescribed. Statistics show that people having low-incomes, living in rural areas and having government Medicaid benefits are more susceptible to overdoses. Individuals having an emotional, mental or psychological disorder are considered high risk, as are people having a history of substance abuse.
If you are trying to break the habit of taking pain medications but have had no success, talk to a counselor on a hotline. By calling the 800-890-3586 helpline, you will get the answers that you need.