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Prescription Drug Addiction Dangers Increase With Alcohol
The tragic death of Malibu, CA, resident Christopher Quint recently from a lethal combination of alcohol and the benzodiazepine Xanax, illustrates the soaring epidemic of deaths across the country from prescription drug addiction, especially when mixed with alcohol.
Quint’s lifeless body was found early one morning last month in a local park by a neighbor walking their dog. It was of interest to the police, who investigated and found no foul play. It rated a single short story in each of the two small Malibu newspapers. But unless you’re a Malibu celebrity suffering from alcoholism, illicit drug abuse or prescription drug addiction, there’s no national coverage of such deaths.
But Quint was indeed a celebrity to his family and many friends, who poured their affection and memories into a page full of comments beneath the brief story in the Malibu Times. Quint’s untimely end was heartbreaking, particularly for his kindness and good spirit. He was a mentor to some and an open, helpful and loving friend to others.
And like so many who succumb these days to prescription drug addiction, 40-year-old Quint was the furthest thing from the cliché Hollywood drug abuser. The man was a highly-certified SCUBA diver who harvested and sold abalone, flirted with Great White sharks, and taught other SCUBA instructors how to instruct. Quint hiked the Rockies for months at a time, rode a Harley Davidson, and did “a lot more neat things”, the comments disclosed. He had lived and worked in Africa, had been a private contractor in Iraq, and was a tireless activist for ecological causes.
But Quint was only one of possibly dozens of other loved and respected Americans who died the same week, in the same way — killed by a fatal combination of alcohol and drugs. Millions of Americans suffer from prescription drug addiction and risk death every time they add a drug or a drink to their deadly cocktail.
The most dangerous prescription drugs when mixed with alcohol are the so-called sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and narcotic pain killers. Benzodiazepine tranquilizers like Librium, Valium and Xanax, when combined with alcohol, can kill particularly quickly. And narcotics such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, heroin, and other pain-killers, some with popular names like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and Lortab, can also be deadly with alcohol.
Published reports claim that Americans consume 70 percent of all the narcotics used in the world, and 98 percent of the world’s hydrocodone — the active narcotic ingredient in Vicodin — is used by Americans. Small wonder that America suffers more prescription drug addiction than all other countries in the world.
According to the director of Novus Medical Detox in Pasco County, FL, all the sedating, tranquilizing and pain-killing drugs slow down, or suppress, the Central Nervous System (CNS). And the problem with alcohol, he added, is that it is also a CNS suppressant, and adds to the drug effect.
“Alcohol and CNS-suppressant drugs are synergetic,” the Director said. “On their own, they can make you sleepy. But mixing them can make you five times sleepier than either the drug or the alcohol by itself. When they’re put together, these drugs and alcohol can shut down the commands to breath and keep the heart going.”
Of all the many sedatives involved in prescription drug addiction, benzodiazepines are possibly the most dangerous, Xanax in particular. Xanax enters the system the fastest, and remains for the shortest time compared to other drugs.
“When a drug leaves your body very quickly,” the Director points out, “it triggers a more powerful need for the drug than slower-acting substances. It is more likely to become a drug of habitual abuse, or even a full-blown prescription drug addiction, and is therefore more dangerous, than many other drugs.
“Most drug detox centers are treating more prescription drugs than illicit street drugs these days,” the Director said. “If you’re on a prescription for any of these kinds of drugs, never, but never, combine them with alcohol. But the best idea, the safest idea, is to seek help at a medical drug detox center to get off the drugs and find a safer, healthier alternative for the condition you are trying to treat.”
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