Johnny got into a car accident and has been taking Vicodin for the pain.
Vicodin is basically a pharmaceutical version of heroin.
At first, Vicodin is relieving Johnny’s pain. The doctor who prescribed the drug did the right thing. The acute pain from the car accident is being treated.
Gradually Johnny starts taking more Vicodin than he was initially prescribed. After a little over 2 weeks, Johnny’s monthly dose of Vicodin is already gone. He calls and refills the prescription, no problem.
Johnny continues taking a 30-day supply of the prescription drug in closer to 14 days.
This is prescription drug abuse.
Johnny feels no pain, whatsoever, when he takes Vicodin. All pain is deadened: physical, emotional, and psychological. As Johnny took more and more Vicodin each day, he probably felt a rush or a euphoric high from the pills.
Why would you want to go from pleasure back to any pain? You wouldn’t when there’s a pill right there, available to you with just a copayment to the pharmacy.
Johnny eventually must see his doctor again, who will decide whether Johnny’s Vicodin prescription should be refilled or discontinued. Johnny says he is still in pain. The doctor gives him more Vicodin refills.
Some prescription drug abuse effects are exaggerating pain, or convincing yourself that you really do still have physical pain that the drug is treating. Denial. Heard of it?
Johnny continues abusing Vicodin. His blood pressure is slowed, so his pulse and respiration are lowered. He may be confused without understanding why. Prescription drug abuse effects are physical, emotional, and psychological.
Speech is slurred, the head nods forward (as it does when you fall asleep upright in an airplane seat), and pupils become small and do not react to light. Johnny is probably constipated regularly, his sexual desire is affected, and he will experience painful symptoms if he stops taking Vicodin at this point.
Johnny’s brain and body have adjusted to the prescription drug’s effects. His system is impacted by the chemicals he continues to put in.
Johnny may start calling in sick to work, missing school, or neglecting other obligations.
Prescription drug abuse effects are social, financial, and relational. It’s hard for Johnny to maintain a real relationship when he is high on Vicodin alone in his room. He may lose his job and lose the ability to afford his life.
Johnny needs help. The prescription drug abuse effects have taken over his life.
What is Johnny to do?