Across the country, there are millions who develop high tolerances, dependencies, and eventual addictions to drugs. Substance abuse and addiction are incredibly dangerous situations. Drug related injury and fatality are the leading cause of injury and death in the United States. This is not a surprise considering the country consumes the majority of the world’s drugs. Prescription drug is has skyrocketed in the last decade. Big pharmaceutical companies have made billions of dollars on prescription medications. This generation of children is the most medicated in the history of mankind. Some might ask the question, “What’s wrong with that?” Prescription drugs are, after all, regulated by the government right? The FDA must approve any medication (drug/chemical) before it is allowed to be bought and sold. This interpretation of medications is one of the dangers of prescription drugs. These medications are incredibly dangerous; to the point that they are the leading cause for death and injury.

Ritalin

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant. The drug is normally consumed in pill formed; it is also abused by crushing and snorting. The chemicals enter the bloodstream and go to the brain. These chemicals affect the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. This drug is popularly used to treat attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy. This medication is a popular one for those suffering from concentration issues. It would seem that nearly every young child, who is ‘hyper’, is currently medicated with this type of medication. There are several other similar types of medications used to treat this disorder.

Ritalin as a Study Buddy

The current problem with Ritalin is that it is used as a study helper. Anyone who believes they need an added boost or helper with studying or something that will help them focuses turn to Ritalin or a similar substitute. High school and college students alike are turning to Ritalin to help them stay up all night to study for the ‘big exam’. Many find that coffee gives them the jitters and are turned-on to this drug because their friends encourage them to take it. The pressure and stress that is created by scores and college can easily push a student to spend a few dollars on a pill that can help them. This is ordinary story that starts a Ritalin addiction. At first they use it to help on a test, exam, paper, or other school assignment, but it can turn ugly quickly. What many students do not understand, until it is too late, is that the intense high or euphoria or focus is quickly followed by an equally powerful low. Many experience an intense crash after the drug wears off. Increased sensations of sleepiness, fatigue, depression, and reduced alertness always follow the high from Ritalin. As the use of Ritalin continues their bodies will adapt to the drug, which will required increased dosages or frequency of taking the drug. Many students find the need to consume more of the drug when they begin crashing. They do not feel ‘right’ or ‘good’ again until they have the drug in their system; which is a clear example of addiction. This practice of abusing Ritalin can turn to high doses, snorting the crushed pill, and other addiction related outcomes. When this drug is taken in large doses it can lead to convulsions, headaches and hallucinations. There have been many cases of young adults dying from the effects of this amphetamine-like substance, which are linked to the heart damages. Some individuals end up having severe psychotic episodes. The most significant piece of information about Ritalin is that there are zero studies that prove Ritalin helps increase test scores. In fact, most studies show that those individuals who abuse Ritalin do worse on tests than those who are not abusing the drugs.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

The non-medical (recreational) use of prescription drugs is destroying America. There is not a single U.S. city, county, or neighborhood that is not dealing with a drug abuse problem. Most teenagers believe that prescription drugs are safe because they are legally bought and sold in the country. Prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs when they are not taken as recommended. This means that taking medications that are not written for you, taking higher doses, or more frequently then recommended is abuse. This can easily lead to addiction. Most prescriptions have a high likelihood of abuse and addiction because of the adverse effects they cause. Ritalin is not an exception to this rule. Ritalin stimulates the brain and body in ways that increase desire to continue to use it.

Stimulants

Stimulants were initially prescribed to treat asthma and obesity. Stimulants increase heart rate, blood pressure, constrict blood vessels, increase blood sugar and open the pathways of the respiratory systems. Today, stimulants are prescribed for ADHA, ADD, depression, narcolepsy, and other problems. Ritalin, Concerta Dexedrine and Adderall are all types of stimulants. Like other prescribed drugs, if taken as prescribed they are safe. Unfortunately, they are misused and have a high potential for addiction. Poly-drug use of stimulants and decongestants can cause irregular heart rhythms and misuse can cause high body temperature.

Government Programs

In an attempt to battle this ongoing epidemic of prescription drug misuse, authorities have created several programs. The education of our youths is the first line of defense against prescription drug abuse. Informing the next generation of the dangers of misusing pills is paramount in changing the culture created by the country and pharmaceutical industry. Which, just to iterate is one of the most profitable industries today, even in the current state of recession. The next stage of the battle against prescription drug use is the dispensaries that authorities have set up. Several cities and towns have setup places where individuals can come to properly dispose of their unused or expired medications. Prescription drug abuse is very high in youths under the age of 18 because they are getting the drugs from their parents for free. If communities come together and get rid of their medications properly, then the problem with prescription drug misuse will be dealt a heavy blow.