If you are taking at least one prescription medication, you are not alone.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an arm of the
U.S. National Institutes of Health, the United States has 5 percent of
the world’s population, but it consumes a whopping 75 percent of
the world’s prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs pose a public health concern, even for people who have
perfectly legal prescriptions from their physician, especially when patients
mix alcohol with prescription drugs.
We know that alcohol is often used as a self-prescribed medication to help
deal with anxiety, chronic stress and pain. The truth is that alcohol
can cause more problems than it solves so it should never be used to treat
anxiety, depression, or back pain. Even though alcohol acts as a muscle
relaxant, it actually has no analgesic (pain killing) effect.
Hollywood Actors Do It
The world has watched as stars have chartered into dangerous territory:
Elvis Presley, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson,
and Anna Nicole Smith – all who have died in part due to prescription
drug overdoses, and often in combination with alcohol.
The prescription drug/alcohol problem isn’t only affecting the Hollywood
elite. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
every day 44 people in the United States die from overdosing on prescription
The NIDA reports that in 2013, nearly 25,000 people died from prescription
drug overdoses – in 2001, that figure was approximately 10,000.
The deaths more than doubled over 12 years.
According to Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug
Abuse, around 3 to 5 percent of people who take pain medications end up
addicted, and individuals with a history of substance-use disorder from
drinking, smoking or using other drugs – are at an even greater risk.
Deadly Duo: Prescription Drugs & Alcohol
Prescription drugs and alcohol can be a deadly combination. Painkillers
and alcohol are some of the worst to mix since they both slow down breathing
and inhibit a person’s coughing reflex.
Alcohol can interact with
antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, thereby intensifying
the sedative effects of both substances. This interaction causes drowsiness,
dizziness, and makes car
accidents more likely to happen.
A 2011 study published in the
American Journal of Therapeutics found that those who visited the ER after taking too much Ambien were
over twice as likely to end up in intensive care if they also drank alcohol
vs, Ambien patients who had nothing to drink.
Xanax and alcohol both affect the central nervous system, thereby lowering
heart and breathing rates, and creating a synergistic effect. Meaning,
their combined effects are greater than their individual effects.
Since Xanax and alcohol inhibit memory, when a user combines them, they
can forget their actions and reach for another pill or another drink,
increasing their risk of impairment and a deadly overdose – not
to mention a DUI.
Arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and a
? To fight your charges, call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.
to work with
Board Certified Orange County DUI attorney!