If you’re taking at least one prescription medication, you’re
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
75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs.
In reality, prescriptions pose a serious public health concern, even for
people who have perfectly legal prescriptions from their physician. This
is especially the case when people combine powerful narcotics with alcohol,
or when they overdose.
We know that alcohol is often used as a self-prescribed sedative, muscle
relaxant, or depressant to deal with anxiety, chronic stress and pain.
However, alcohol can cause more problems than it solves so it should never
be used to treat anxiety, depression, or 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 A-List 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 overdose – 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 other drugs – are at an even greater risk.
Drugs & Alcohol: a Deadly Duo
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 DUI
accidents more likely.
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. today!