A recent seizure of £75,000 worth of oxycodone by Northern Irish police has prompted fears of increasing prescription drug abuse.
While heroin and cocaine busts tend to dominate the headlines, the dangers of prescription medication cannot be underestimated.
Oxycodone, known as ‘Hillbilly Heroin’ because of its similar chemical composition, has already been responsible for hundreds of deaths in America.
The opiate is formally used to treat pain, but has been classified as a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. A synthetic form of morphine, it is twice as strong and often prescribed to cancer suffers. Irish Health Minister Edwin Poots claimed drug traffickers were presently struggling to import ‘good quality’ heroin into the country, resulting in an increase in prescription drugs flooding the streets.
The dangers presented by prescription drugs should not be glossed over by authorities in the quest for more ‘substantial’ drug seizures. ‘Hillbilly Heroin’, for example, is incredibly addictive, with a thriving black market thanks to prescriptions being sold on for a profit. Other prescription drugs such as Valium (diazepam) can similarly lead to addiction, as can sleeping pills and antidepressants that are frequently prescribed by doctors. The Family Doctor Association (FDA) is currently trying to raise awareness of this problem.
There are clearly dangers associated with misappropriating prescription drugs. Because they are prescribed out by doctors, some may seem them as ostensibly medicinal in purpose, without imparting the unpleasant side effects of illegal substances. This is not the case. At the same time however, legitimate use of such prescription drugs should not be condemned, for such substances can play a vital role in controlling innate physiological and psychological problems. Anyone who finds they may be developing a dependency for such substances, obtained legally or otherwise, should consult their doctor and give us a ring at Life Works. Prescription drug addiction treatment is available, and can be very effective at reducing and ultimately eliminating dependency on such medication
Because of their legal status, it may take longer for people to realise they have developed an addiction to prescription drugs. Should such a scenario arise, however, effective help is available to combat the problem of prescription drug abuse.