The biggest killer drugs in the States right now are legal and have been prescribed. Here’s how easy it is to score and to get hooked
The Sunday Times
By Kate Spicer
May 2, 2010
I went to my appointment with “Dr C’ in Los Angeles with a shopping list of the most commonly abused types of drug: pain relievers, tranquillisers, stimulants and sedatives. Beforehand, a local addiction specialist, Bernadine Fried, had briefed me on how to approach your doctor like an addict and still come away with fistfuls of pills.
The script went like this: “Say, ‘I just went to my first NA meeting, I’m struggling with my addiction. I’m super anxious, but I also have these pain issues from an old injury.’” Fried stops to think. “Right, what do we have there? He should have given you an opiate [painkiller], Xanax [benzodiazepine tranquilliser, a new-generation Valium] and maybe an antidepressant. Now we just need a stimulant, such as Adderall, and a sleeping pill. Say, ‘I’m having a hard time focusing and my work is so important to me and it’s all that’s keeping me going at this difficult time.’ Oh, and then say, ‘I can’t sleep.’”
The appointment with Dr C, a psychiatrist on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, costs about £230, but if I had health insurance, that would cover the fee. I go in and act normal, apart from jiggling my foot around (to denote anxiety) and staring out of the window (to suggest a poor attention span). Dr C asks if I am depressed. “No,” I say. “Are you sure?” he says. I forget to talk about the painful old injury, but towards the end of the appointment, he asks, “Any pain?” That’s my invitation to the highly addictive opiate party.
An hour later, I’ve paid £110 to a nearby pharmacist and my handbag is rattling like a maraca. I’ve been prescribed two Adderall a day, Klonopin (another new-generation Valium) to take “as required, when anxious”, and sleeping pills. The next morning, I take a quarter of the prescribed dose of Adderall. I focus better, but I’m buzzing. I chain-smoke — at 8am — and I’ve lost my appetite. As highs go, it definitely isn’t fun, and the drug has made me feel anxious. I take another quarter after lunch.
Within a few hours, I decide to have half a dose of the Klonopin, to take the edge off my tooth-gnashing, rubbish-talking, Adderalled personality. Then I go for a drink, but after one glass of wine I’m grappling to control myself. Messy is the technical term. Yet I am still legal to drive. I go home and take a sleeping pill. I watch television and through the sludgy fog I get tunnel vision. Famished, I eat a big bag of crisps and pass out. In the morning, I feel thick-headed and slow. An Adderall will sort that out…
Prescription-drug abuse is widespread in the States. Plenty of recent high-profile deaths have been linked to prescription drugs: Corey Haim, Brittany Murphy, Casey Johnson, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Chris Penn, Anna Nicole Smith, Kevyn Aucoin. When Britney Spears was rushed to hospital after a public meltdown in January 2008, reports said she had taken more than 100 prescription pills and washed them down with a “purple monster”: vodka, Nyquil (an over-the-counter flu remedy) and Red Bull. Her condition owed little to illegal drug use.
Read entire article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article7109253.ece