“Ignorance is bliss” has always been an overrated proverb that brought destruction to many who believed in it. It might have been bliss for those who choose temporary relief and later pay its price in the form of long-term suffering. Therefore, it is never a good choice to procrastinate over knowledge of things that you use and the choices you make.
The former applies to several domains in life but the topic under discussion here is ignorance related to prescription drugs and illegal drugs. A huge number of people have no idea what is being prescribed to them by the doctor and at times, this ends up messing up the patient’s quality of life. People who indulge in the use of illegal drugs think that they know all about what they’re using. They even guide our teens or newbies at parties on dos and don’ts of some specific drugs. Nevertheless, a lot of unpredictable situations are encountered while using these drugs and therefore there’s a lot that needs to be known about all kinds of drugs.
Some of you might be looking at the opioid or heroin crisis as a crime and people that died were the ones who couldn’t handle drugs. However, the facts are quite in contrast to the belief of the general public. This is not a criminal issue, instead it is a healthcare problem. People are dying due to ignorance. Overdose of opioids might be a reason for people dying but this includes a very small percentage of people. Most of these deaths are caused as a result of opioids being mixed with other sedatives i.e. Alcohol, an antihistamine (such as promethazine), or a benzodiazepine (such as Xanax or Klonopin). Now, who is to blame for such mishaps? Government, for not educating people? Or the people for being too lazy to read about what they’re going to ingest into their bodies. The government can’t be responsible for illegal drugs therefore it’s the sole responsibility of the user to know what he/she is using and what effects it can have on his/her body.
Sources of information have always been a problem in all aspects of life. People usually believe in well-structured rumors and end themselves up in unwanted situations. Human life is the most important asset in this world and yet it is subject to so much ignorance that most people are either behind bars or hospitalized due to excessive use of drugs. Several drug laws are being passed now and then. These laws are sometimes amendments to the old rules and regulations. Therefore, some drugs become legal and some of them are no more inside the bounds of legal drugs. People are usually too busy in their lives and parties are the only time they feel relaxed. Therefore, they don’t bother to read which drug is legal these days. A police raid then makes them realize that they have been doing illegal drugs. Hence ignorance is no more bliss.
There are several other unwanted situations which people end up in due to no knowledge of a drug they’re using. For instance, the very recent Opioid crisis took the lives of many people in the US and made mainstream news. The president considered it a national emergency and promised to invest time and effort into this crisis because it was an unforeseen situation that could get worse. A similar problem was encountered in the 1960s but was a heroin crisis. That led to the introduction of Rockefeller drug laws which faced quite a lot of opposition by people. People who were involved in illegal drugs were put behind bars. You become a more responsible person the more informed you are about the laws that govern you!
Cost of ignorance
Apart from the grief and misfortune of the families of the ones who die due to drug ignorance, there are other costs that the government must pay. The rules and regulations related to drugs are mostly the ones that involve pushing people into prison. Many of these convictions are addicts and not dealers. The cost of one bed in prison ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 per year. Numerous other neglected issues can be addressed by using this money. It can only be possible if people are duly made aware of what they are using and what can it turn into.
Effect of drug Innovation on people
Drug producers are constantly trying to adapt their products to stay ahead in the market as well as retain their customers. The consumers don’t know much about how these changes are being incurred and what could be the possible side effects. Also, new illegal drugs are introduced in the market and the public remains ignorant of their origin, composition, regulations related to them, and their health hazards. Now this will take all the drug users out there back to square one as new users.
Certain drugs are only taken to enjoy at parties or have fun. Sadly, their composition is misunderstood. Most of them have highly addictive substances that make the user depend on them. Dr. Adam Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist from the Maudsley Hospital in London and Director of Global Drug Survey, conducted a research and found out that most of the first time users of mephedrone (bath salts) did not know the drug. (Did you know the chemical name for bath salts? Discover your Drug IQ here.)
Most first-time drug users did not know the time required for the drug to take effect, possible interactions with other drugs, or the reactions that drug could cause while interacting with other chemicals in the body.
Sources of information
People usually are hesitant to go out and ask about the drugs that they are going to use. They often think it’s “not cool” to ask and research about it or maybe it will halt them from becoming an alpha male in the society. Alas, it has drastic results.
In peer pressure, the only sources that people can go to are their siblings, friends, or anybody else who might have used this drug earlier. Let me ask you a quick question here, would you ever ask a barber why are you having a fever or a headache? NO! Then why is this domain discriminated so badly? Asking the right questions to the wrong people is not the right move. This is like knowing nothing about the drug.
Place of addicts in society
If someone is found addicted to a substance and can’t carry on with their lives in a normal manner, society stops accepting them as normal people and they must face a whole new set of behaviors. They are disowned by their friends and everybody turns a blind eye to their condition. All in all, they are all to themselves.
This is one of the reasons that people who are addicted to substances seldom make it out of that dark place. It requires a very strong mindset and a lot of other things i.e. financial help, friends, and intimate relationships. The crux of the matter is, you can go deep into the abyss if you don’t monitor your drug activities and aren’t fully aware of what is it that you’re having fun with.
Role of parents
Teenagers are the most likely to become drug addicts among all the age groups. Raging hormones, no experience of life, new experiences, and very little knowledge about life ends them up in that situation. Most of the drugs are easily available out there and your kid can easily get access to them by using his/her pocket money.
Therefore, parents need to have a strict check on their child as well as deep knowledge and understanding of drugs (Drug IQ) and other substances of abuse. This can help them prevent their child from getting very much off the track and destroying a part of their life.
Unforeseen demises have not only been associated with illicit drugs. Prescription drugs are also a culprit which has caused a considerable number of deaths worldwide. In most of the cases, the cause of death is declared unknown.
This happens due to a lack of knowledge about a specific prescription drug that a patient uses without a doctor’s supervision. This leads to very severe damage in many cases as these drugs are meant to alter the processes going on in the body.
Researchers are burning the midnight oil to find better alternatives to many medicines. Therefore, every day many medicines become outdated. Moreover, there are combinations of medicine that are prescribed by doctors so that a particular medicine may not cause a harmful reaction inside the patient’s body. All in all, there are various intricate details that a doctor has to consider before prescribing a medicine.
However, non-medical professionals on the other hand having zero knowledge of a new prescription drug, its manufacturing date, its history, latest research related to it, and its side effects. In many cases, doctors who do not keep themselves up to date end up recommending these drugs to patients. Therefore, it is a must to have a source of knowledge that you can rely upon.
Significance of a trusted source of information
Medicine has become an integral part of our lives. We simply rely too much on them. Our lives have become too tough and busy therefore we do get tired either mentally or physically and hence need medication at times.
So boycotting medicines is neither the right nor the logical choice. Knowing more about medicine and having sound knowledge of what you’re ingesting does not take much effort. All you need to know is a source of information that you can count on. There are various approaches out there that you can choose to depend upon the authenticity and effort you’re willing to put in. You can download some research papers and then read thoroughly about the medicine that you’re going to take or ask a trained medical professional.
All you must do is repeat the same process every time a medicine is prescribed to you lol. Well, honestly, that’s a little more effort than I made it sound earlier. No worries, there are still some solutions that will make your life easier and much happier.
We as humans are social animals and information keeps jumbling over, when it passes from one person to another. Therefore, trusting information from random individuals or the internet is not a very wise thing to do. It gets crucial when it comes to your health and well-being. YourDrug IQ matters to you, your patients, and your loved one’s safety. However, there are some responsibilities on an individual level that each of us must fulfill. So be responsible, own your responsibilities, and become a better person. Stay Informed!
Try Drug Trivia
Drug trivia can be a great way for parents and healthcare professionals to learn about the trending illegal and abused drugs, drug law, new drugs, OTC drugs, drug history, and many areas of pharmacology (for healthcare professionals). All you have to do is download the app on your phone and keep yourself informed and entertained in your free time.