Using drugs to get your own high may be a very bad idea, but you might be partially excused in thinking that you’re only hurting yourself. This is rarely the case, however. Even with widely-available, legal drugs, there is a lot more harm to go around than just for the person that is choosing to use the drug.
Cigarette smoke can harm everyone in the vicinity that has to breathe it in. A term was even coined for this – second-hand smoke. Other drugs that are smoked, such as marijuana and crack cocaine, can have the same effect. When someone starts using these drugs, he is putting everyone around him at risk of also having damaging health effects.
Children are often the ones that are most harmed in these situations, too. Adults have the choice and ability to get up and leave an area where someone is smoking nearby. Children, on the other hand, don’t have a choice to do something about it. If someone is using drugs around them in a way that can harm them, there isn’t much they can do about it.
The ultimate example of this is newborn babies that are being harmed by the prescription drug use of their mothers. This is similar to a phenomenon known as “crack babies.” This occurred when pregnant women were addicted to crack cocaine and subsequently got their unborn children hooked on it, too. Crack cocaine usage rates have plummeted since their height in the 80s, so doctors aren’t seeing quite as many cases these days.
Prescription Drug Abuse Rates Skyrocket
What we are seeing a lot of is prescription drug abuse. This is the fastest growing segment of drug abuse in the United States today. The only drug that Americans use more of is marijuana. Opiate painkillers are very similar to heroin in both their chemical makeup and in their effects, but you don’t have to go to a shady street dealer in order to get them. All you have to do is convince a doctor that you’re in enough pain, and you’ll be able to get the equivalent of “heroin pills” that you can pick up at your local pharmacy.
Babies Born Addicted
Since almost anyone can get a prescription for these drugs (even soon-to-be mothers), it’s harder to get a handle on the number of babies that are being affected by these drugs while they’re still in the womb. The science is simple, in that whatever enters the mother’s body will also circulate through the baby’s. Spotting who might be harming a baby in development is a lot harder.
The doctor’s that deliver these babies can’t always tell the difference between them and healthy babies, either. It’s only after a couple of days that everything appears to suddenly start going wrong. The baby starts to scream in pain and have digestive issues and diarrhea. They stop being able to nurse normally and they become ultra-sensitive to light and touch.
What is going on is that it’s been a couple days since the baby last had a dose of the opiate painkillers that its mother is hooked on. The baby is now going through withdrawal, and it’s too young to even understand what is happening. These babies are the victims of their mothers’ bad decisions, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
We can do something about it, however. Push your lawmakers to make it harder for doctors to prescribe powerfully addictive drugs. Help educate the public on the dangers of prescription drugs so they don’t abuse them. By making the whole community aware of the problem, we can start to put an end to it.