D. Although they are legal, addiction to prescription medications can occur just like with drugs obtained on the black market. How are society's perceptions of a drug's safety influenced by its legal status?

Many people see drugs as more or less dangerous based on how easily they are obtained. They assume that if a drug is difficult to buy it must be dangerous and if it is relatively readily available it must not be so harmful. For this reason, they see drugs such as. caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco as being less harmful than illegal drugs. They also see medications or prescription drugs as being helpful solely because the doctor allowed their use. However, what they fail to see is that many medicated drugs are the same or similar to illegal drugs, the major difference being the quantity in which they are consumed. For example, because marijuana is illegal, most people assume that it has no beneficial effects on society when really, if given in proper amounts, it does help people. Along the same lines, many people assume that medicated drugs are not harmful when in reality they are relatively widely abused by an increasingly younger margin of the population. By these standards, the true danger of drugs is slightly distorted by whether the government deems the drugs legal or illegal.
Many people have the belief that just because the drug is legal, that it is okay for people to take them and use them. However, some people do not realize that people can easily abuse these drugs. Drugs like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and tabacco are all viewed as okay for society to use them because the government has allowed for them to be used. But, people start to abuse these drugs and become addicted to them. Just because a drug is labeled as legal, does not mean it is safe. Drugs like cocaine, meth, THC (marijuana), opiates, etc. are all viewed as bad because the government has labeled them as dangerous and illegal. So when a person takes an illegal drug, they are viewed as a criminal and a bad person. However, isn't a person who uses prescription drugs for the wrong reason just as bad. People do not realize that drugs deemed safe and legal by the government are just as harmful as illegal drugs if used in the wrong way. People form their opinions around what the government is legal and illegal.
Many people believe that prescription drugs are not dangerous because they are used to help people. Although they are used to help people, they can be harmful if they aren’t used properly. They are legal, but there is a reason why you need a prescription to get them. They are still drugs and need to be used with care to ensure that people don’t become addicted. Some of the more commonly abused prescription drugs are things like opioids (OxyContin and Vicodin), depressants(Valium and Xanax), and stimulants (Ritalin and Aderol). When used in high doses people can become addicted and it can lead to various problems. Illegal drugs are thought to be much more dangerous than prescription drugs because they are prohibited by law. They are dangerous and lots of people become addicted to them, but prescription drugs can be just as bad, or sometimes worse if they are not used appropriately. Therefore, people seem to think that drugs are not dangerous if they are legal and dangerous if they are illegal. This is definitely a misconception though because all drugs can be dangerous, no matter what their legal status is. -AM

Our society believes that prescription drugs are safe because they are meant to treat certain symptoms. Many people see drugs purchased on the black market as the dangerous drugs because of how they are obtained, the laws against them, and because of their well- known addictive nature. We tend to believe that prescription drugs are completely safe, and would never be used in an inappropriate manner. Because trained physicians are the ones prescribing these medications, we assume that all the patients receiving these prescriptions are responsible, and will only use them in the correct way. However, just because a drug is prescribed does not make it safe. Drug addiction begins with abuse, which is a voluntary act. If someone on prescription drugs feels the slightest urge to abuse, they ultimately have the easiest access to strong drugs, which can lead to an addiction to that drug. This has been seen in patients who use pain killers and sedatives. The legality of a drug should not determine whether or not a drug is dangerous. If anything, prescription drugs are just as dangerous, given that if a doctor believes a request for a medication is valid, they may refill the prescription over and over, feeding an addicts cravings. In all every drug has the same potential of causing harm to a person. -AA

The majority of people today assume that prescription drugs are not harmful, and that they are only helpful. In reality, they are just as bad as illegal drugs because they can have a lot of the same affects on people. Because prescription drugs are given to you by doctors, people just assume that taking a little more will not hurt you and that it will just speed up the healing process. This is false. Taking too much, or abusing, a drug can hurt you immensly. A lot of the people in America also believe that all illegal drugs are bad for you, when some of them can be helpful if you take the right amount. For intense illnesses, such as cancer, marijuana is used to help patients. To many people, this is surprising. However, most people who have smoked marijuana, or other illegal drugs, are not using it for medical purposes. They are taking the drug either for pleasure, to fit in with the crowd, or because they are addicted. All drugs, whether they are illegal or legal, can be harmful if you abuse them. -JL

As we learned in class, the difference between medications and drugs is that medications follow specific medical guidelines. The moment a medication is used outside of its guidelines, the medication becomes a drug and the user becomes a drug abuser. Prescription drugs are only healthy and acceptable if they are used accordingly. If a doctor prescribes a kid with ADD one adderal a day and he takes two he is an abuser. The kid is getting more than he needs from the drug and damaging himself. Addtionally, prescription medications are many times just as dangerous as drugs you can receive on the black market and just as easily distributed. If a person has a friend who was in an accident and has left of codine, he may sell the rest of his bottle after he no longer needs it to a friend. This friend can become highly addicted to the codine and cause damage to hiself or herself. Furthermore, patients who are given medications can often become addicted to them themselves. This becomes a problem when the patient no longer needs the drug physically, but craves it mentally. Just because society says that a drug is legal in some situations doesn't mean that that drug is legal in all situations. Anything can become addicting and any medication can become a drug that is abused. -- HT