By Nakea Paige
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
When you go to the doctor, you hope to leave with a cure. However, some leave with an addiction, or a new job as a drug dealer.
More and more, people are using prescription drugs like antidepressants or pain medication as a way one would use hardcore drugs. They are using them for recreation or even selling them which is not what these medications are for.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug addiction is becoming a big issue killing more people from accidental overdoses. If you suffer under addiction then these guys can help.
Some of the most popular prescriptions that people tend to abuse are Zanax, an anti anxiety medicine, Codeine, an ingredient in most cough syrups, Vicodin, a pain reliever, and Adderral, a mood stabilizer for patients with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are several other mood stabilizers and pain relievers that other people are abusing, yet these are some of the most popular.
With music being a big outlet, people look to their favorite artists as inspiration, yet these people are glorifying these drugs.
Jacob Steed, a 23-year-old Lansing resident, said that he would use Codeine all the time “because all of the rappers did it.”
“Most people use Codeine or Promethazine to make ‘lean’ or ‘syrup.’ That basically means you are mixing the cough syrup with some sort of soda or juice with a candy piece like a Jolly Rancher,” explained Steed.
“Since the 90s, rappers and musicians have talked about using this drug. Since the 80s, musicians have been public with their abuse and it’s like well they are fine so hey let’s try,” Steed said. “I don’t do it on a regular basis but it is fun.”
The CDC states that white men ages 20-64 who live in poor rural populations and people with mental illnesses are the ones who are more at risk of abusing prescription drugs and potentially overdosing. Suggesting that people start being prescribed common addictive drugs at lower dosages to start.
Dr. Leana Wen, an attending physician and director of patient-centered care research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University gave her insight on the looks of drug abuse in the emergency room in an article for National Public Radio.
“Narcotic prescriptions are multiplying. In 2009, pharmacies dispensed 257 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, one for every adult American, and a 50 percent increase from 2000. While the U.S. makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, Americans consume 80 percent of its total opioid supply,” Wen told NPR.
Former drug user Samantha Jones talked about her struggles with prescription drug addiction.
“It started when I needed medicine but didn’t have health insurance. A friend told me that he could get me a pain pill, and that was the end of the story,” Jones said.
“I didn’t smoke and hardly drank. It was a relief that I needed in order to get through the day, so I thought. I got that health insurance and found a way to say I was in pain in order to get a prescription,” she said. “If that didn’t work, it wasn’t hard to find anyone to sell me something.”
“I would ask my dealer how they got so many, he said people want money more than they want to have pills they probably don’t feel they need. I new I had an issue when I would spend money on pills before food,” she said. “I was able to stop before it got really bad like I have seen. People will do anything for a morphine pill before a hit of cocaine.’
This month alone, there have been over 20 arrest in Lansing for drugs. Though it wasn’t clear what drugs, local officers said they see a lot of illegal prescription drug possession.
People are seeing this issue becoming more and more of an issue that there are many organizations that are trying to help prevent these addictions. One program being the State Prescription Drug Monitoring Program through the Department of Justice Office of Diversion Control.
This program was designed to keep track of prescriptions and frequencies, state by state, in order to be able to spot and stop drug addiction. Michigan, as well as 36 other states are currently using this system.
Many people have to face the potential risk of addiction everyday. Going in to the hospital because you are sick, and walking out with a bag full of addictions is a very real situation.
If you or someone you know is battling addictions, please call your local addiction hotline or someone to help.