A true story of addiction: "Drug Cravings for Breakfast"

Withdrawal symptoms can be a serious problem, and this is true whether a drug is flat-out illegal, legally prescribed, or fully legalized. The dangers posed by a drug are not determined by, nor do they determine, that drug’s legal status.

Some Major Drug Dangers Associated with Prescription Medications

Make no mistake:  prescription medications ARE drugs. They can and do kill.

Two common dangers related to them: bad handwriting on prescriptions, and errors made in pharmacies, due to similar prescription names. Xanax is NOT Zantac. Fluoxetine is NOT fluconazole. Have these been mixed up, before? Yes!

Solution: do your homework, inform yourself, and, when in doubt, ask questions before leaving the pharmacy. You should UNDERSTAND anything you need to take, and doctors and pharmacists will explain what you need to know! 

robertlovespi:

At the end of each school year, my students do oral or written reports on a molecule of their choice. This is a visual aid given to me by a student, years ago, after she used it for her visual aid for a presentation on nicotine. I keep it in my classroom, to remind my students of what America’s most dangerous drug really is:  tobacco.

(Source: eyelovepi)

robertlovespi:

I used the last of the coffee on Saturday, then, like an idiot, lailed to buy more, even though I had the chance.

I’m still recovering from the misery-turned-migraine that was Sunday.

Why does anyone deny that caffeine is a drug?  I’m clearly addicted.

That’s a true story above. A real danger of caffeine, and many other drugs, is physical addiction. Even to caffeine? Hell, yes, in the amounts I drink. Withdrawal is not pleasant — from anything.

(Source: hollowed-boy, via eyelovepi)

The easiest drug-related danger to avoid….

Simply don’t drink bongwater.  Ever.  Yes, some people have actually done this, to try to get high, after running out of their usual intoxicants.  It doesn’t work, for that purpose, but it can make you sick.  The purpose of water filtration is to make smoke less harmful, so drinking bongwater defeats that purpose.

My qualifications to blog on this subject….

In the interests of full disclosure….

  • Medical training:  none
  • Legal training:  none
  • Well, what the hell DOES qualify me?  See below.

I’m in my 17th year of teaching high school, and the only subject I have taught every year is Chemistry.  My students ask me questions about drugs, on the assumption that I will know the answers because, well, I’m their Chemistry teacher.

I want to be able to answer their questions correctly, so I do a lot of research in order to be able to answer them from an objective, scientific point of view.  I do the best I can, and always invite correction by anyone who can provide evidence to refute anything I have said.

Now you know.

A danger of marijuana: possible impairment of judgment

Evidence for this:  lots of people on Tumblr, in countries where it is illegal, post pictures of themselves, faces shown, smoking marijuana, or simply showing it off.  I see these pics on my dashboard, but I don’t reblog them.

This baffles me.  The police KNOW about Tumblr!

Pictured:  seven alprazolam tablets, 2 mg each, as these would be described in a pharmacy. More common “street” term:  seven bars of Xanax.

Many drugs can be used as medicines, and, of course, medicines ARE drugs. Many medicines, such as Xanax, are also psychoactive drugs, which simply means they affect the mind.

The last time I checked, Xanax was the #1 most-often prescribed drug in the US. I have a prescription; these are mine, and are legal for that reason, but only for me (in other words, you can’t have them).  I have struggled with panic disorder and PTSD for nearly 30 years, and this drug has saved me from unknown misery.

However, this does NOT mean that Xanax is not a dangerous drug, for it is.  If one has to take it, as I do, one should be careful, as I am.  Also, if you doesn’t NEED it (as in, you don’t have severe anxiety problems for which a doctor prescribes these), “being careful” simply means NOT taking Xanax.

These make my anxiety symptoms go away, and usually make me sleepy as well. I get no euphoria from them, but, apparently, others do, or they would not be diverted to the black market, as they are.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanax for more information from Wikipedia, plus the other linked articles to be found there.

One example of a serious Xanax danger:  a person I know, who shall remain nameless, took the quantity shown (that’s 14 mg, far more than any single person needs at once, ever), for purely recreational purposes, went driving, wrecked his car, and subsequently was charged, and convicted, of multiple felonies. Fortunately for him — and amazingly — no one died.

The most I have ever taken at once, by comparison, was 5 mg — right after my mother had a heart attack.  When I told my psychiatrist about this, he told me that, even in such extreme cases, no more than 4 mg should ever be taken at once, even by people who are used to high doses (and doctors consider just ONE of these 2-mg pills to be a high dose).  Now that I know that, I follow his advice.  I pay the man BECAUSE he knows more about this stuff than I do, after all — to ignore his advice would be stupid.

There’s another, serious danger with Xanax, and other benzodiazepines as well (examples:  Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, etc.), and this affects even people who use these drugs for legitimate reasons, and use them intelligently.  It is NOT safe, if one has been taking these for long at all, to step taking them suddenly. These are very addictive drugs, on a physical level, and one possible withdrawal symptom for those who do quit “cold turkey” is life-threatening seizures.  This should be considered before taking Xanax, discussed with the prescribing doctor, and advice should be requested (from your doctor) on how to safely “taper down” (by very gradual dose-reductions) slowly, to minimize risk, if it is ever time to stop taking these.  Most patients do NOT need Xanax long-term, and those few who do need it for long-term use, such as myself, have an even-more serious need to be careful.

Like many drugs, Xanax has two “faces.”  It saves people from the horror of panic disorder and other mental illnesses.  It also destroys lives, when people misuse it, deliberately or accidentally. The key is to understand the drug, know its risks, take it only if needed (and as needed), follow a competent doctor’s directions on the subject, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist any questions you may have, and do your own research as well.

One other thing:  Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) should not be taken together, not should either be mixed with alcohol.  I know another person who took a lot, of both drugs, together, with a lot of alcohol, daily, for a long time. He could easily have overdosed, and died … but something even worse happened to him.  In an odd mental state (which he cannot remember to this day), under the influence of this three-drug mixture, he drove across multiple state lines (somehow), and then proceeded to use an unloaded gun (no one knew it was unloaded) to commit armed robberies at several small businesses, taking many hostages in the process.  No one was injured, nor killed, but he’s still now serving life in prison, without possibility of parole (largely because of the hostages — “false imprisonment” is a serious felony), and the incompetent, unethical doctor who prescribed these medications to him (knowing full well that he drank heavily) quickly fled to another state.  I didn’t even know where he was, until he’d been behind bars for nearly a decade.

When I take Xanax, I do it because I need to, I take only what I need, and I consider all of these things when doing so.  I will not end up like the two people I have described in this post. I have no choice but to use this drug, for I cannot function without it … but I am not going to let it use me.

Wikipedia: "Joe Camel" (the most notorious case of tobacco being marketed to minors in the USA)

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