Thursday, November 21, 2013

FDA Requests Heightened Regulations For Hydrocodone Painkillers

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to recommend prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and others containing hydrocodone, be reclassified as “Schedule II” substances from their current “Schedule III” status – imposing tougher restrictions on how they are used and prescribed.

OxyContin, defined as “potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence” by the Drug Enforcement Administration, has already been placed in the Schedule II category.

Increase In Hydrocodone Painkiller Abuse

FDA Requests Heightened Regulations For Hydrocodone Painkillers
The agency has explained the move in a recent statement; having become “increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reach epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States.”

Requests from the DEA to reclassify the substances have been longstanding, citing increased rates of addiction and overdose throughout the U.S.

Patients and pain specialists argue that the new restrictions would make obtaining the drugs more difficult for individuals struggling with debilitating, chronic pain – increasing suffering for those who use the substances properly.

Balancing Valid Painkiller Use With Abuse And Misuse

The FDA touched on the debate, stating that it “has been challenged with determining how to balance the need to ensure continued access to those patients who rely on continuous pain relief while addressing the ongoing concerns about abuse and misuse.”

The reclassification would not allow physicians to call prescriptions into local pharmacies. It would also lower the number of refills afforded to patients without additional doctor visits.

Do you believe this is a necessary step in the fight against prescription or illegal drug addiction? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Does Substance Abuse Really Affect The User?

The effects of substance abuse on the human body can be permanent or temporary. Damage may worsen over a longer duration with increased frequency, up to and including overdose and death. Diminished regard to personal hygiene, financial troubles, domestic violence and depression may also come about as a result from continued use habits.

Substance Abuse Effects on Brain and BodySubstance Abuse Statistics

According to recent studies, more that 8% of Americans ages 12+ have dabbled with illegal substances within the past year. A 2007 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 14.8% of students ages 13 – 18 had engaged in some type of recreational drug use within the previous 30 days. Though addiction is often defined as a mental health issue, the effects it can take on the body are rather extensive.

Substance Abuse Effects On Brain And Body

Substance abuse effects the body in a variety of ways, including changes in brain functionality, organ damage and skin infections.

Pregnant women with addiction issues impose enhanced risks to their unborn children, including behavioral disorders, developmental delays, low birth weight and premature birth.

The effects of substance abuse on mental health include personality disorders, lapses in memory, violence, depression and irrational behavior.

How Quickly Do Negative Effects Start After Using Drugs?

The negative effects of substance abuse can begin taking shape after only one use or many. Substances that are smoked or inhaled, such as marijuana, may cause increased appetite and high blood pressure. Cocaine and other narcotics have been known to cause heart attack following overdose.

Perhaps the most common effect of substance abuse is addiction. Over a long enough use period, addicts may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not readily available. These symptoms can last anywhere from several days to a year or more depending on use history, amount and frequency.

Prevention And Treatment For Substance Abuse

Abstinence is key to the prevention of substance abuse effects. Recognizing when casual use upgrades to abuse is another crucial factor. Treatment centers for alcohol and narcotic addiction often prove useful in minimizing and managing the effects of the abuse by way of replacing the addictive substance with prescription alternatives. Support groups and counseling also play a vital role in the recovery process by helping patients deal with their addictions in a positive and healthy manner.