Prescription drugs have many clear benefits in improving health, alleviating pain, and other medical purposes. However, many prescription drugs, while potentially beneficial, also pose a high risk of overuse. Abuse of prescription drugs has become a major public health problem. Abuse of certain prescription drugs can lead to addiction or even death, especially among teens and young adults. According to government studies, the problem is only getting worse:
- Prescription drugs are the third-most commonly abused substances in the United States for those 14 and older, only behind marijuana and alcohol
- Teens in particular misuse prescription drugs for several reasons, including for recreational purposes—to get high—as pain-killers, or to help them with school work.
- Many teens get prescription drugs they misuse from friends and relatives, often without the knowledge of the person who has the prescription.
- Gender can play a role in why teens abuse drugs. Boys are more likely to misuse prescription stimulants to get high, while girls tend to misuse them to stay alert or to lose weight.
Certain Categories of Prescription Drugs Pose a Particularly High Risk
Government statistics indicate that certain types of prescription drugs are particularly dangerous and prone to abuse, by teens and young adults alike. The three most dangerous and commonly misused prescription drugs are:
- Opioids – pain relievers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, or codeine
- Sedatives – used to relieve anxiety or as sleep aids, such as Valium or Xanax
- Stimulants – to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall and Ritalin
These and similar medications require doctor prescriptions. Doctors must exercise care to prescribe such drugs only when medically required, and people who receive such prescriptions must take care to ensure that the prescribed drugs are not used by other people. These and other prescription drugs can be very dangerous and can cause significant harm or even death if improperly used or prescribed.
Prescription Drug Deaths Are on the Rise in Maryland
Deaths from drug overdoses, many of them related to prescription drugs, have been skyrocketing in Maryland over the last few years. Such deaths have more than doubled just since 2014, and have more than tripled since 2011. The Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene recently reported that:
- Eighty-nine percent of all Maryland drug-related deaths in 2016 were opioid-related. Opioid-related deaths include deaths related to heroin, prescription opioids, and nonpharmaceutical fentanyl.
- The number of opioid-related deaths increased by 70 percent between 2015 and 2016 and has nearly quadrupled since 2010.
- The number of prescription-opioid related deaths increased by 19 percent (from 351 to 418); many of these deaths occurred in combination with heroin or fentanyl.
Injuries from prescription drugs can include addiction, negative reactions, and even death.
If You or a Loved One Have Suffered a Personal Injury Because of a Prescription Drug in Maryland, Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers of Alpert Schreyer
Prescription drugs can be hazardous, particularly if mis-prescribed or over-prescribed. If you have suffered an injury because of a prescription drug in Maryland, consult a personal injury attorney to determine your rights under the particular circumstances of your situation.
The lawyers of Alpert Schreyer, LLC, can assist you in protecting your rights and obtaining just compensation in these types of situations. You can reach us at (844) 632-7274 or through our online contact form.