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Do you think young people view prescription drugs as being less dangerous than illicit drugs?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 22, 2008

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“I think it depends on their upbringing, but they probably do. I think a lot of people think if a doctor prescribed it then it’s fine, and society seems to almost glamorize prescription drug abuse in comparison.”

“I don’t. Just last year my roommate got addicted to OxyContin and now does heroin because it’s cheaper. People don’t view a pain pill as being as bad as heroin, but it is. It’s just more socially misunderstood.”

“I think they do just because it’s been prescribed by a doctor. And even if they don’t have that condition, they think that a doctor wouldn’t prescribe something unsafe.”

“I think it depends on the drug. But in general, I think people know a lot more about illicit drugs, and are only recently becoming aware of the dangers of prescription drugs.”


jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

Why young people, necessarily? Are we not supposed to talk about the adults that somehow think that prescription drugs are less dangerous that prescription drugs? Like the ones who would scream if they found their kid smoking a joint, but are just as happy to load them up on ADHD medication and Zoloft because it keeps them quiet and passive? I've met some of those people.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 5 months ago

Jonas, you placed ADHD meds in the same category as anti-depressants. What is more dangerous is not treating depression. Depression kills.

While some are docs are overdiagnosing ADHD, some kids would absolutely have no future without the meds that allow them to concentrate and learn in school. Without these meds they become disruptive and lower the abilities of other students to learn.

mom_of_three 10 years, 5 months ago

Not just among youth, but people in general. Look at the dozens of people listed on Dr. Schneider's indictment in Wichita who died from prescription drugs, either accidental or not. People think because it is prescribed that it is safe to take whatever they give you, but you have to be careful.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

gayokay (Anonymous) says:

"Jonas, you placed ADHD meds in the same category as anti-depressants. What is more dangerous is not treating depression. Depression kills.

While some are docs are overdiagnosing ADHD, some kids would absolutely have no future without the meds that allow them to concentrate and learn in school. Without these meds they become disruptive and lower the abilities of other students to learn."

This is absolute BS! Those "meds" are hardcore drugs that people like you are drugging our youth society with! Ohhhhhh, you make me angry!

ohjayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I was prescribed pain killers (Oxy-somethingorother) after an outpatient surgery, and I took them at home, as prescribed. I was in so much pain that I didn't feel any "effects" from them (i.e. getting high). However, once I stopped taking them, I started getting cold sweats, shivering, etc. I have never taken illegal drugs in my life, but even I could tell that I was going through withdrawal symptoms. It was a little frightening, to be quite honest. Luckily, the symptoms didn't last long, and I didn't desire the pills afterward. However, I feel a bit fortunate not to have been hooked. It's unbelievable to me to think that one could develop withdrawal symptoms after just 3 days or so of taking a prescribed medicine.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 5 months ago

I couldn't wait to get off of the pain killers they prescribed me for getting my tonsils out (again)...I was 35ish. I preferred the intense pain more than the feeling of being drugged. I don't remember what those things were. :o$

jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

gayokay: They are only in the same category within this context, that of drugs that are over-prescribed to take the place something more solid, like the expenditure of time upon children, discipline, and actually looking at situations that are making kids unhappy in the first place.

Make no mistake, I recognize that for certain children these drugs, both ADHD and anti-dep, are very helpful, sometimes necessary, for them to be productive and progress. My son (who is not in my care, but his mom's) was put on ADHD meds some time ago. I had reservations, but it seemed he actually needed them. He is able to focus now, his schoolwork improved dramatically, and he did not just become glassy or passive like some do. I, however, was put on anti-depressents briefly when I was younger, and they just dulled me down. I got off of them, and eventually fixed my issues and became better.

Which is which can only be determined by close and honest evaluation by parents and perhaps psychologists/psychiatrists. I had two that just prescribed me drugs and passed me along, and then I had one who actually took the time to talk to me, and came to the stunning conclusion that I was unhappy largely because I was grounded all the time and was unpopular at school, things that can't be fixed by drugs.

mom_of_three 10 years, 5 months ago

MKH - gayokay is absolutely correct in that the kids with correct ADHD diagnosis need their medications to be able to function in school. Their brains do not work like yours or mine. Since her diagnosis last year, my daughter's gpa jumped from a 1.7 for fall semester to a 3.2 for the spring semester. She can tell you exactly what the medication does for her. It made such a big difference in her behavior and attitude that friends and relatives noticed. So no one can tell me that medications do not work for some.

mom_of_three 10 years, 5 months ago

Jonas - my husband also had reservations before putting our daughter on medications, and to be truthful, still does. No one wants to put their kids on medications, but we noticed the same differences in our daughter that you did in your son - improvement in grades, focus, and not at all "druggy." it actually made a dramatic difference in her.
But no, it isn't for everybody, and she sees a therapist regularly, and has her medications monitored.

Paul R Getto 10 years, 5 months ago

Drug-taking ape--a concise definition of humanity?

moo 10 years, 5 months ago

Sincerest hopes for a more positive future, RT, and condolences on the less than positive past.

Yes, prescription drugs are a big problem. At my college anyone who had been prescribed Aderol could easily make bank selling it to all the students who wanted to be able to focus for their papers and finals. Still, this doesn't mean that no one needs these drugs. I have taught kids who absolutely needed their ADHD drugs, just as I also saw a number of simply energetic kids who had been basically anesthetized by annoyed parents and teachers. Careful oversight is needed for these things, but misuse by some is no reason to condemn all prescription of depression and ADHD medications to children. Congrats on the successful treatments, Jonas and mom. Remember that while we may criticize it for a lot of things, western medicine saves lives.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

What's the difference? Legal addiction vs illegal addiction? One is is not.

Plenty of people have been legally addicted to Valium,nicotine and alcohol.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 5 months ago

Many persons with addiction issues first and still have mental illness. It is very common for persons with mood disorders like depression and bipolar to attempt to adjust their own moods with street drugs. If these mental issues were properly addressed prior to experimentation with booze and street drugs then many persons and those around them would be spared the agony of addiction.

Jonas, glad things have worked out for you. Depression often is a disease that can re-occur. There are many different choices of medication and if one is not tollerated then a doc may advise using another. It may take several tries for someone to find the right combo.

lildos 10 years, 5 months ago

RT. Good luck on your life and thumbs up for being a responsible father. It is important to let people know that this can happen to anyone, and that Rx drugs can sometimes be worse that the illegal stuff.

Let's not forget that alcohol should not be taken lightly either when it comes to addiction.

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