IS IT SAFE TO BUY PRESCRIPTIONS ONLINE OR NOT FROM MY DOCTOR?
No, it is not safe to obtain prescription drugs if they are not directly prescribed by a doctor, and it can be illegal to purchase drugs online. The DEA warns that the online purchase of drugs is illegal and by federal law, it is also prohibited to buy any controlled substance.
THESE SUBSTANCES CAN INCLUDE:
- Narcotic pain relievers (eg., OxyContin®, Vicodin®)
- Sedatives (e.g., Valium®, Xanax®, Ambien®)
- Stimulants (e.g., phentermine, phendimetrazine, Adderall®, Ritalin®)
- Anabolic steroids (e.g., Winstrol®, Equipoise®)
You must have a valid prescription from a licensed medical provider in order to purchase controlled substances online or it can result in imprisonment under federal law. Drugs sold online may often come from foreign countries, which can be harmful, but it is also a felony to import them into the U.S.. Prescriptions from “cyber doctors” are seen as invalid, so it is important to speak with an actual doctor and have an examination in order to receive the medication you need.
WHY DID I GET A PRESCRIPTION OF NARCAN ALONG WITH MY PAIN MEDICATIONS?
Opioids, whether they are prescribed or not, can be dangerous and life-threatening when misused. Medical providers often prescribe naloxone along with prescription pain medication in case of an emergency. The provider does not assume every person will abuse the prescription but wants to make sure the person has the prevention of an overdose. Sometimes accidents can occur; you might take the wrong dosage or something else could go wrong. Some people might live in rural areas and may not have quick access to medical assistance. It can also be possible that your medication is taken by someone else without your knowledge and suffer from an overdose. For many reasons, it is better to be safe than sorry. The provider wants to give a rescue option if needed.
I THINK I TOOK THE WRONG DRUG, WHAT DO I DO?
If you start feeling unbearably sick, you should head to the emergency room as soon as possible. Although, if you just took it and are unsure of its effect, you can use an online tool called webPOISONCONTROL® or call Poison Control at 1800-222-1222 for guidance. When you call or search, you will need the name of the medicine, the amount taken, when it was taken, your age, your weight, and your name. If you call Poison Control they will also ask for your phone number in case you get disconnected. The specialist will let you know whether you can experience any harmful risks from the drug and need to visit the hospital. If it is not a harmful substance, they will advise you on how to proceed.
WHY DON’T MY PAIN PRESCRIPTIONS WORK ANYMORE?
Pain relievers can stop working for a number of reasons, it is crucial that you do not increase your dosage or stop using the medicine. The first thing you should do is call your medical provider to get advice from them. It can be extremely dangerous to change the dosage on your own but also not taking anything and letting the pain continue. Both can cause serious consequences. It is important to only take prescriptions as directed by a healthcare provider.
CAN I USE HEROIN INSTEAD OF MY PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDS?
No, it is not safe to use heroin instead of prescription opioids.
Opioids refer to a class of drugs that include a variety of other drugs that can be both illegal and legal. Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin, synthetic drugs like fentanyl, and prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others.
When taken correctly for a short period and without misusing prescription opioids, they can be safe to use. However, when you do misuse them for anything other than pain relief as instructed, they can be extremely addictive. Opioids can produce euphoria similar to other drugs and can lead people to get addicted or even overdose on them. People can overdose and die on any amount of opioids whether it is the first time you take then or multiple times. They can be unpredictable.
Heroin is an illegal drug and can be harsher on the user. When prescription opioid misuse goes too far, oftentimes people turn to use heroin. When heroin enters the brain, it binds to the opioid reception which can quickly affect the feeling of pain and pleasure. Heroin can affect the user’s heart rate, sleep, and breathing. The abuse of heroin can result in addiction, overdose, and possible deaths by overdose.
For A Loved One
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE?
Prescription drug addiction can show up on people in various ways. Some people might present very few signs while others may present their signs with neon lights. It is important to learn what signs to look for in case your loved one has a problem to get them the help they need.
PHYSICAL SIGNS OF A PRESCRIPTION OPIOID ADDICT:
- The person may have bloodshot eyes with pupils being larger or smaller than usual
- They may have a change in appetite or sleep patterns
- They will lose or gain weight drastically
- Lack of personal grooming or change in physical appearance
- Impaired coordination or unintelligible speech
- Missing or underperforming with responsibilities at work, school or home
- Struggling financially, resulting in borrowing or stealing money
- Being secretive or acting suspicious
- Sudden change in hangouts, hobbies, and friends
- Getting into trouble such as fights, illegal activities, and other troublesome activities.
- Sudden change in personality or attitude
- Easily irritable, or has sudden mood swings
- An unexpected period of hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
- Lacking motivation or concentration
- May appear paranoid, anxious, or scared
ADDITIONAL WARNING SIGNS OF A PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICT:
- If the person is using prescription opioids, such as OxyContin, Vicodin or Norco, they may have drooping eyes, constricted pupils, trouble speaking, lack of energy, constant itching or flushing, drowsiness, and other uncharacteristic behaviors.
- People using anti-anxiety medication may have poor judgment, slowed breathing, and appear drowsy.
- Those using stimulants, such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Dexedrine, may have dilated pupils, lack of appetite, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia.
If your loved one displays any of these signs and symptoms, then it is time to talk to them and get them help as soon as possible. If not treated, their addiction can worsen and may lead to an overdose or death.
WHAT KIND OF ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE COMMONLY SOLD MASKED AS PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ON THE STREET?
Although counterfeit prescription drugs are illegal to sell and make, they are still being sold. These drugs can be extremely dangerous to the user’s health. These drugs disguise themselves as prescription medicine but are fake and do not meet pharmacological standards. Counterfeit drugs can contain low quality, wrong, and cheap ingredients that can have a bad effect on users. The drugs may also contain active ingredients with the wrong dosage that can lead people to overdose or worse.
HOW TO AVOID USING COUNTERFEIT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:
- You should only be using prescription drugs that are directly prescribed by a doctor or medical provider.
- Make sure to examine the appearance of the drug, its packaging, lot numbers, and the consistency of the medication.
- If the drugs look suspicious, immediately notify a pharmacist before taking them.
- If you do take them and notice unusual side effects, let your pharmacist or healthcare provider know.
- Try to avoid buying prescription drugs online, but if you do, you need to make sure it is from a licensed distributor that requires a valid prescription. A reputable online pharmacy will have a seal of approval, called the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS).
- Avoid buying prescriptions at a low cost or that offer a special deal because they are most likely to be associated with counterfeit products.
INFORMATION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:
- Opioids come in different forms, some can be illegal but others can be obtained by prescription. They can also be addictive and cause overdoses and deaths. Commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and meperidine (Demerol).
- When used correctly, opioids can relieve or treat pain such as back pain, coughs, or diarrhea.
- Opioids typically attach to opioid receptors in a person’s nervous system and can prevent pain messages to reach the brain.
- Central Nervous System or CNS depressants, can include phenobarbital (Luminal), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax).
- These prescription drugs can be used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, tension, and sleep disorders.
- The CNS depressants can increase the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, to slow down brain activity.
- Stimulants often come in the form of methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall).
- They are usually prescribed to people to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
- Stimulants work by increasing activity in the brain which can result in alertness, attention, and energy.
SHOULD I STAGE AN INTERVENTION?
Being a loved one of an addict can be extremely difficult and can take a toll on you. You may have tried a number of methods to convince the person to seek help and they still refuse to listen. Sometimes, what they may need is to hear how their addiction affects others around them. This can be done through an intervention with family, friends, and others who care about the drug user. An intervention might work best when planned beforehand. You can consult with a substance addiction professional and they can help direct the formal intervention.
One of the main goals during the intervention is to get through to the addict so they can see the importance of getting treatment. It is important to be sensitive to the fact that your loved one might not be aware they have an issue. The intervention can show the person they have a strong support system which can help encourage them to accept help. Getting treatment help can make a difference and prevent someone from an overdose or death by overdose.
- You can provide specific examples of times the person displayed destructive behaviors and how they have affected others around them.
- You can have a treatment plan prearranged for them, so it can be one less thing for them to think about. Also,you can also share the steps, goals, and guidelines expected in the program.
- The intervention plan can include the role each person will have during the intervention and what they will each do if the addict refuses to go to treatment.
- If your loved one refuses treatment you can have specific consequence ready for them. These are not meant to be a punishment but may be necessary for them and everyone else. If they do not choose to change then you should not have to continue to deal with the pain and suffering caused by their addiction.
- In the case they do accept treatment, you can drive them there and continue to support them. After their treatment, you can attend follow up visits, along with family support groups. This can help the person remain sober and avoid relapsing. You can also find new activities to do together that do not involve anything that can trigger and lead them to drug use.
- It can also be helpful to be ready and know what to do if a relapse does occur. Be prepared for anything.
WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK MY LOVED ONE TOOK A DRUG THAT WASN’T WHAT THEY THOUGHT IT WAS?
If you suspect your loved one has taken the wrong drug and they have a bad reaction to it, you should take them to the emergency room or consult a doctor. Although it is dangerous, it can be common for drug dealers to lace drugs or “cut” them with other substances. This way dealers can use more of the cheaper substance and make a profit from it.
Some drugs can include talcum powder, laundry detergent, or rat poison. Marijuana has been found to be laced with embalming fluid or hallucinogen PCP. One of the most common and harmful cutting agenting is fentanyl. As a synthetic opioid, fentanyl is found to be even more powerful than morphine. It is often mixed into cocaine, heroin, and other prescription opioids, such as Oxycodone, Xanax, and Percocet.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR LOVED ONE WAS EXPOSED TO FENTANYL:
- If you have naloxone, also known as Narcan, around you can have them take it. It can reduce the chance of an overdose or other risks caused by fentanyl.
- If you think your loved one is using drugs, try to check on them to make sure they do not experience any bad effects from the drug.
- If you or someone else use drugs, you can examine before using it to see if there are any small pieces that stand out. Fentanyl is not always distributed evenly, so this way you can tell if it is in your drugs.
- You can space out the dosage of drugs or limit the amount used, in case there is fentanyl in it you can reduce its effect.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SOMEONE ADDICTED TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS?
Depending on various factors and on each individual’s needs the right choice for treatment may vary. What may work for one person may not work for another, so it is important to find the right one for you or your loved one. Typically, 30-day programs are for mild addiction, 60-day for moderate, and 90-day for severe. You can decide on participating in the program at an inpatient or outpatient facility. Most treatment programs may include a basic structure of assessment, detox, rehab therapy, and aftercare plan.
During the assessment, the patient will be examined by a specialist to create an individualized treatment plan for them. Then, the patient will go through the detox process to let their body withdraw from any harmful substance. After, they will receive rehab therapy which can include behavioral, psychotherapy, or other kinds of therapy. This step helps the patient work on what leads them to their addiction and how to overcome it to avoid relapse after treatment. Finally, at the end of treatment, the patient meets with a recovery specialist to create an aftercare plan. This plan is meant to provide the patient with guidance and goals to continue their sobriety after they leave the program. It can also include support resources for 12-step programs, support groups, and therapy.
If you or a loved one are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, do not wait to seek out help. Many risks can come from substance addiction, such as health risks, overdoses, and death. Seeking treatment can help you get on the path to recovery before it is too late. Please call us at 405-583-4390 to learn more or visit our treatment program page. You are not alone, we are here for you.