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Monday, July 25, 2011

Prescription Opioid and Intravenous Drug Use

Prescription drug abuse is now being linked to and even considered the gateway to intravenous drug use. Teenagers and young adults heading down the road of addiction typically will have their first opiate experience in the form of a prescription pain killer like oxycodone. According to a new study released, it is only a matter of time before someone who is abusing prescription narcotics either starts injecting their pills or switches over to heroin use. Just as with every type of drug, the longer one consumes a particular drug the more developed their tolerance becomes, thus making it harder to achieve the desired feeling; in turn, this causes addicts to experiment with different avenues of consumption which usually leads to I.V. drug use.

Researchers found four out of five injection drug users abused an opioid drug (prescriptions) before they injected heroin. Almost one out of four young injection drug users first injected a prescription opioid, which led them to injecting heroin, the Science Daily reports.

The study included 50 injection drug users between the ages of 16 to 25. All had misused a prescription drug at least three times in the past three months, with about three-fourths of the participants having had been prescribed an opioid, often for dental procedures or sports injuries.

“Participants were commonly raised in households where misuse of prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol, was normalized,” lead researcher Dr. Stephen Lankenau, from Drexel University in Philadelphia, said in a news release. “Access to prescription medications – either from a participant’s own source, a family member, or a friend – was a key feature of initiation into prescription drug misuse.”

It cannot be overemphasized enough; parents need to safeguard their young ones from prescription narcotics. It is crucial that drugs that have the propensity for being abused should be locked up at all times.

The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

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