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When a person thinks of problems that haunt the state, mostly what comes to mind are drunk driving, the meth epidemic, or the bipolar weather, but our state has a crisis that is on the rise and catching the attention of the police force all over the state. Our state ranks high among all states with people, ages 12 and older, taking prescription pills without being prescribed them. (NSDUH) Many teens and adults can recall a friend asking them for their prescription pills or have witnessed someone taking these pills illegally. Throughout my life, there are many instances that I can recall from memory that deal with prescription pills and these instance changed or altered my life. People tend to think that prescription pills are safer than street drugs because they are made for people to take. But in one occurrence, my mother lost her best friend and my good friend lost his mother to the addiction with prescription drugs, which caused a downward spiral in her life. One might ask, what is the state doing to stop this epidemic? One might also wonder what effects prescription drug abuse has on our city. My personal story and experience with the prescription drug problem started when my mother and I moved from Spain to the United States; my mother met her soon-to-be best friend, Regina. When I was a child, my mother never told me about the serious problem that Regina had: addiction to prescription pills. She wanted to shelter me from the problems it caused. Most common drugs that are abused are opioids: hydrocodone and oxycodone, depressants: diazepam, or stimulants: amphetamines, all of which Regina had been using for a considerable amount of time. (NIDA) Soon Regina’s family moved away to Florida and she told my mother that she had quit taking pills and was clean. After finding out about Regina kicking her addiction, we planned to moved down to Florida with them. But after my mother quit her job and sold our house, she found out that Regina was still using the pills, and it was worse than ever. This negatively affected my family not only emotionally, but also financially. My mother was without her job, and we did not have a home to call ours. We then moved in with my mother’s boyfriend and times were hard on us with little money for the necessities, like food. Feeling that it was best to avoid contact with Regina, my mother didn’t speak to her for a year. Finally, my mother was looking her up and found out that Regina had committed suicide after losing everything from her addiction to prescription pills. Later, we found out that she lost her job from not showing up most of the time, and her husband was filing for divorce. The last straw that pushed her over the edge and made her take her own life was that her husband was filing for custody of their two year old child.When one chooses to abuse prescription drugs over his or her loved ones, relationships start to take a toll for the worst. Prescription drugs are ranked second as most used illegal drugs, next to marijuana, which is the most used illegal drug in the world, as approximately twenty-two million people abuse prescriptions. (NSDUH) Users tend to surround themselves with others who use drugs, rather than spending time with friends or family. Another harmful aspect to using prescription drug is usually steals them or buys them illegally from friends or other sources. In many instances, many of my friends have asked for some of the prescribed drugs I received after various surgeries. Having previous knowledge on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, I have always refused. Some of my personal relationships were ruined from people asking me for my prescribed pills and I had to cut those people out of my life. The website, reported, “Unlike street drugs, prescription drugs are government tested and approved, which is one reason teenagers find them so appealing,” and my friends thought exactly that (Popping Pills). Almost 50% of teens consider prescription drugs are greatly safer than illegal narcotics from the streets. (Drug-Free World) However, the notion that prescription drugs are safe to use is not as true as teens think. In fact, abusing prescription drugs only hurts established relationships with friends and family.The police and law enforcement within our town are trying to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. Police Detective Dean Chrestenson, who is a prescription drug diversion detective, said, “The biggest problem we have to overcome is the attitude that, “It’s just a pill … It’s safe. It’s prescribed by a doctor. It’s not being made in a truck in the backwoods.” (Popping Pills) That attitude that Detective Chrestenson explains is exactly what makes abusing prescription pills extremely dangerous, and it explains why prescription pills are responsible for many deaths in the world. When combined depressants, opioids, and antidepressants are responsible for 45% of all overdose deaths, which is more than the 39% of deaths from cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and amphetamines. (Drug-Free World) Not only has prescription pills caused problems with death, but the crimes related with prescription pills have become more prevalent to Missoula. The Missoula stated, “…people robbing pharmacies at gunpoint, to people swiping drugs from medicine cabinets when real estate agents hold open houses, from high school kids holding “Skittles parties” where they toss multicolored pills into a bowl, to dealers running some very profitable enterprises…,” and the police of Missoula are overwhelmed attempting to stop this problem. With our state having the ruthless meth problem, it will be difficult for the police force to focus either on dealing with the ever-growing problems with prescription pill or tackling the devastating meth problem. In addition to the police force trying to find a solution, the pharmaceutical industry is also faced with the challenge to halt the abuse of these drugs. People wanting these drugs are robbing the pharmacies, obtaining forged prescriptions, or getting prescriptions by doctor-shopping. (Popping Pills) When I was younger my mother explained to me what doctor shopping was, it means when a person goes from doctor to doctor getting multiple prescriptions to be filled at many different pharmacies. The pharmacies can either cut down on the output of pills prescribed to patients, which would affect the people who truly need the drugs, or increase the output of prescription pills, which would help the abusers obtain their fix more easily. The pharmaceutical companies are caught in a catch-22 and have to make a difficult decision on how to approach this topic. Our state has started using a new drug registry program, which monitors the addicting prescription pills and requires the pharmacies to fill out weekly reports on the prescriptions they fill for people. (Popping Pills) Rob Darmel, a pharmacist, stated, “Prescription drug abuse is a real problem in America. … If physicians use (the registry) like it was meant to be used, it should really help resolve this problem.” Overall, the pharmacies around the state are taking great steps in the fight against the prescription drug abuse problem with the drug registry program. The problems do not only reside with companies that produce the drugs and the law enforcement making attempts to stop the problem, but the community as a whole is being affected in multiple ways. People of varying ages are affected by prescription drug abuse. Children can be negatively impacted by their parents’ addictions, like in the case with my mother’s close friend, Regina. Since being in college, I frequently see or hear of fellow students having drug problems, which can lead to drug problems as an adult. This can start a devastating cycle of abuse. When adults abuse prescription drugs, they’re more likely to miss work and it will negatively affect the economic bases of the community. Elderly people are a high target for people to buy or steal prescription pills from because the elderly can sometimes only afford their pills and are left without money for other needs. In my school, I knew of a student that was known to steal prescription pills from his grandmother and grandfather while they were out of the house. He would then either use these pill or sell them to other students around the community, which everyone would learn about his problems being from a small town. Sometimes the person who is abusing these drugs only needs to get treated for the addiction and come back into reality from their out of control life style. Now finally there are many different alternative method of pain management that will help prevent a person from starting their addiction by being prescribed pain medication. Personally since I witnessed what happened to my mother’s friend from prescription drugs, I have chosen alternative methods to manage my scoliosis and arthritis in my back, which causes discomfort and pain throughout the day. Doctors have asked if I would take opioids to control the pain within my back, but after consulting with my mother and learning about this ever growing problem, I chose to stay away from these devastating drug. The alternative method that I turned to was physical therapy rather than taking prescription drugs and with my families high risk for addiction this was the best chose for me to make. From WebMD, they state that there are several alternative methods to pain management, which are acupuncture, exercise, chiropractic manipulation, supplements and vitamins, physical therapy, and stress-reduction techniques, such as; yoga, hypnosis, music therapy, and massage. (WebMD) With all of these alternative methods, people should try turning to these ways before going to prescription pain medication for their pain management.After the story about my mom’s friend and researching this topic, I am positive that prescription drug abuse should be a major concern in the public. People use these drugs to get high or concentrate more in school, but the side effects or potential of becoming addicted are far too risky.

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