In the past, choices of drugs for recreational purposes consisted of mind altering substances as well as substances that caused the body to be depressed or stimulated. Anesthetics used for their numbing effects such as lidocaine, cocaine, & tetracaine have been utilized for years. Dentists and oral surgeons know this all too well.
In modern times, drugs of choice used for recreation are Vicodin, Roxicodone, Norco, Demerol. Why has this changed?
Medication used for pain (which can be abused) has changed significantly in the last 10 years. This is in part due to an impatient society where it is important to find a universal and effective analgesic (and treat a problem yesterday).
Unfortunately, many of the medications utilized which do work effectively have potential for dependence and addiction. It is also unfortunate that many of the medications used effectively for treating pain are extremely dangerous and potentially lethal when used for recreational use.
The safety margin of these medications has been reduced due to the higher potency of the currently available medications. In addition, some have suggested that there is a profit motive for the pharmacy manufacturing companies when it comes to physicians utilizing prescription opioid medication. Drugs used for recreation in the past were for the most part illegal. Now it only takes a sprained ankle to get a prescription for a potent opioid narcotic.
Everybody faces the risk of addiction. Remember those middle-school film strips about saying no, and it only takes one time to get addicted? Those aren’t just a C-list movie director’s efforts at moving up the Hollywood totem pole.
If you’re looking for an example without wondering the dark streets of downtown Chicago, LA, or New York, look at Hollywood. Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe both died from prescription drug overdose, and Rush Limbaugh and Carrie Fisher have struggled with prescription drug abuse.
Because of the crackdown on prescribed medications that were freely available as recently as three years ago, it is commonplace to see dependent individuals using medications in abnormal way such as smoking or liquefying their pills. In that way, they can concentrate the effect of the drugs. It is also likely that these individuals will resort to using heroine and other drugs that can be purchased a mystery that are far more lethal than a prescription medication that they were originally provided.
Want more Hollywood examples? River Phoenix (brother of Joaquin Phoenix) died of a heroin overdose, as did John Belushi. One of Hollywood’s young starlets, Lindsey Lohan, has sullied her name through drug abuse.
For more information and stories that provide shock and awe – see The Great Pain Jack. Follow me at twitter @johnfpetraglia