However, the loss of these celebrities is a reflection of a larger epidemic in the United States, reports the CDC. In fact, 15,000 people died in 2008 from overdosing on prescription medications, often in dangerous combinations and prescribed by different doctors.
While abuse of drugs like cocaine, crack, ecstasy, and heroin are clearly dangerous and illegal, prescription drugs are tougher. Once a user has a prescription, lines are blurred between legal and illegal use. Lobbyists for drug companies are paid huge sums, and work very hard, to ensure drug manufacturers are not to blame, and can keep their products on the market.
“We’re in a middle of an opioid epidemic,” said Ben Levenson, founder of Origins Recovery Center, a rehab center in Texas. “What’s interesting to know is that it’s not just an opioid epidemic, it’s a prescription opioid epidemic.”
Many people do not even know they’re endangering themselves. Addictive prescription drugs depress the central nervous system, and that “high” is what makes them so popular. Opioid painkillers like oxycodon and hydrocodone are among the most addictive, but sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, and even over-the-counter antihistamines slow heart rate and breathing. In combination or in large doses, these drugs can slip the user into a coma, or stop breathing completely.
Because of the popularity of these drugs, it is easy for teenagers to raid friends’ or relatives’ medicine cabinets for a quick hit. Between easy access and glamour from celebrity abuse, teenagers are possibly at the greatest risk of developing addictions or killing themselves.
Drug use and possession is not as black and white as laws imply. If you have been charged with possession, but are unsure of your rights, the experienced lawyers at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.