Abused Pharmaceutical Substances

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Every day in New York City a life is lost due to prescription drug abuse. The vast majority of overdose deaths involve more than one substance, such as the dangerous combination of an opioid and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.

Excessive prescribing of pain medication has resulted in widespread addiction and increased use of counterfeit pills, heroin and fentanyl. My office is committed to reducing the supply of illicit drugs and educating members of the public on how to protect themselves and their loved ones.

SNP’s Prescription Drug Investigation Unit has successfully prosecuted numerous corrupt medical practitioners and dismantled major criminal distribution networks. Together we can save lives and restore the health of NYC communities through a balanced approach of law enforcement, treatment, prevention and sensible harm reduction strategies.


TOP ABUSED PHARMACEUTICAL SUBSTANCES

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Left to right: OxyContin 30 mg, Roxicodone 30 mg, Soma 350 mg, Xanax 2 mg, Percocet 10 mg


ALTERNATIVES TO OPIOIDS

Medical authorities, like the CDC, recommend non-opioid therapy to be the first-line of treatment for chronic pain patients in most circumstances. Pain management options to explore:

• Physical therapy and exercise
• Non-opioid medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
• Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
• Surgery or surgical implants


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR

  1. Why are you prescribing me an opioid?
  2. How long should I take this medication?
  3. How will this medication make me feel?
  4. Are there any side effects from this medication? If so, how can I reduce or prevent them?
  5. Is there a possibility that I will get addicted to this medication?
  6. I have a history of substance use disorder. Should I still take an opioid?
  7. Are there any non-opioids that I can take as an alternative?
  8. Addiction runs in my family, should I take this medication?
  9. Should I start with a shorter prescription or fewer pills?
  10. How can I keep opioid medication at home away from children and other family members?

DANGERS OF BUYING PILLS ON THE STREET

Not every pill is as it seems. Illicit dealers frequently make counterfeit pills with potent fentanyl to sell on the black market as Xanax or oxycodone. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is behind more than half of New York City overdose deaths. An amount of fentanyl equal to a few grains of sand can be lethal.


UNSAFE DRUG COMBINATIONS

Mixing drugs can have life-threatening consequences. Here are some risky combinations that are known to lead to long-term disability or death:

• Opioids + benzodiazepines
• Antidepressants + ecstasy
• Alcohol + opioids
• Alcohol + benzodiazepines

To avoid accidental drug interactions, please keep your doctor inform about all medication you are taking.


RESOURCES

Abused Pharmaceutical Substances Brochure
Learn more about the prescription drug crisis and how you can keep yourself safe as well as prevent the spread of the opioid epidemic.

The Truth About Opioids
A national public awareness campaign by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Ad Council to combat the opioid epidemic.

Clear Your Cabinet
An initiative by the New York Attorney General to help New Yorkers safely dispose of unused opioids.

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