‘Explosive’ Revelations: You Won’t Believe What People Are Using Now to Get High

Prescription drug use impacts Americans everywhere, but they’re no longer the only drugs endangering lives across the country. Even though opioids increase teen suicide rates, don’t discriminate by age, and have devastating health consequences for all, over-the-counter meds are just as dangerous.

There are many reasons teens and adults alike misuse and become addicted to dangerous over-the-counter drugs. Just because they’re legal doesn’t mean they’re harmless.

Deaths from drug overdose are higher than ever

Firefighters help overdose victim

Firefighters help an overdose victim in July 2017 in Illinois. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Over the past 15 years, drug overdose deaths have quadrupled. Thousands of Americans lose their lives to opioids alone every year. It’s not just sad — it’s extremely expensive.

Alarmingly, cities most impacted by the opioid crisis in America spend billions of dollars in health care costs to combat the issue. Everyone pays for prescription drug addiction — some with their dollars, and thousands with their lives.

Next: These are the overdose symptoms you should never ignore.

Common overdose symptoms you should be aware of

man sitting on the bad, clutching his stomach

Overdose symptoms can be spotted if you know what you’re looking for. | iStock.com

The typical side effects given for a drug aren’t the same as drug overdose symptoms. They’re rare, but serious — never to be taken lightly. People who overdose on a number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs sometimes experience seizures, hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and dangerous changes in blood pressure.

Unfortunately, accidental overdoses make up a significant percentage of annual deaths — maybe not for the reason you think.

Next: This is the most dangerous part of reckless drug use.

Don’t ignore the long-term consequences of getting high

oxycodone

People build up a tolerance to opioids. | John Moore/Getty Images

One of the most dangerous things about getting high — regardless of how you do it — isn’t the effects of the drug itself. It’s the tolerance effect, which occurs after using the same drug for a long period of time.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, you build up tolerance to a drug the more you abuse it. It doesn’t affect you the way it did when you first started using it. You have to take more of it to get the high you’re expecting. You can accidentally overdose that way — and the consequences could be devastating.

Next: People have found another dangerous way to get high — and it’s completely legal.

People are abusing legal drugs

A lot of overdoses come from legal drugs. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When we talk about drug abuse, discussions usually revolve around prescription drugs like painkillers. Though these drugs account for many overdoses and deaths every year, they’re not the only culprits.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines over-the-counter drug abuse as any use in a dosage or for a purpose not recommended on the label. Though many children accidentally swallow these medications, teens and older adults often misuse them, which often leads to addiction.

Next: There’s another reason people turn to over-the-counter drugs.

Why are people using antidiarrheal medicine to get high?

Imodium AD

Imodium AD | Imodium

People are using over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications like Loperamide to take the edge off — even though they shouldn’t. Safe in small doses, medicines like these can become dangerous — even life-threatening.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen to people looking to try something risky. Many addicts trying to overcome withdrawal symptoms use over-the-counter meds to help them cope.

Next: Antidiarrheal drugs aren’t as harmless as they might seem.

Can you overdose on antidiarrheal medications?

This over-the-counter medicine could land you in the hospital. | iStock/Getty Images

It’s completely normal to experience mild effects when taking these drugs, including appetite changes, dizziness, and nausea.

The side effects and their severity depend on the person, but overdosing on antidiarrheal drugs can cause worse effects than nausea and vomiting or dehydration. Your heartbeat can speed up, you can start experiencing hallucinations, and you might even slip into a coma.

Next: Taking something other than an antidiarrheal drug? You’re no safer.

Dangerous side effects of common over-the-counter drugs

A number of over-the-counter drugs can be abused. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Prescription drugs aren’t the only medications with terrifying side effects. Illegal drug use can become life-threatening in extreme cases — but so can dependence on completely legal, over-the-counter medications.

People, especially teenagers, have been known to abuse drugs that are easy to purchase or find in the house, including cough syrups, caffeine pills, laxatives, and cold medications. Serious side effects of over-the-counter drugs include dehydration, kidney problems, irregular heartbeat or heart failure, and worse.

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