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Prescription Drugs and Alcohol

Prescription drugs and alcoholWhen used properly, prescription drugs are very helpful to those who need them. However, prescription drugs are some of the easiest drugs to abuse. Abusing prescription medication is also common in teenagers. A study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, was conducted on 592, 12 to 17 year olds. It found that 20 percent of the teenagers admitted to lending their prescription medications to other students. There was a similar amount that admitted to borrowing the drugs as well. There are many risk factors that go along with sharing drugs such as:

  • The drugs may not come with the written instructions that the doctor gives the patients who were prescribed the medication
  • There may be side effects that would occur in certain people

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Prevention is key. It is important to:

  • Keep your prescription medications clearly labeled and away from children and those with a history of drug abuse.
  • Keep all medications in a locked cabinet.
  • Dispose of all unused pills properly. The federal government suggests flushing opioid painkillers down the toilet. Other unused medications can be mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter and thrown away.

Failure to follow these steps can lead to becoming dependent on prescription drugs. It is also simple to avoid additional complications by not mixing prescription drugs with alcohol. Consult your doctor if you wish to drink alcohol while on a prescription drug. The effects can be devastating.

Alcohol and Prescription Drugs

Mixing alcohol with prescription drugs can be a very dangerous thing and it is incredibly common. Alcohol and drugs work in similar ways. They both travel through the bloodstream and affect the brain until enzymes process the drugs or alcohol and they are eliminated from the body. The availability of the drug is the extent to which it reaches the site of action. When there are limited amounts of alcohol present in the body, it affects the availability of the drug by competing with the same metabolizing enzymes. Whereas, when there is a lot of alcohol present, it may activate drug-metabolizing enzymes.

Alcohol and Painkillers

When painkillers that are used for moderate to sever pain are mixed with alcohol, it increases the sedative effect of both substances and increases the risk for overdose. When lesser strength painkillers are mixed with alcohol, the risk for stomach bleeding is raised. This is especially dangerous for the elderly. Aspirin may increase the availability of alcohol, heightening the effects.

Alcohol and Sedatives

Sedatives are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are now more commonly used than barbiturates because of their safety level. However, mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol increases drowsiness and risk of household or automobile accidents. Lorazepam is commonly being used in benzodiazepines. When lorazepam is mixed with alcohol, it may result in a depressed heart and breathing functions.

If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, it is important to seek help. Prescription drugs are a highly dependent and addictive. Once addicted, the effects are devastating. But there is hope. If you are interested in receiving information on prescription drug detox or rehab, please call our toll free number at (877) 571-5722.

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