Prescription or Poisonous

By Emily Thornton

This happened to me…
A couple of weeks ago when I was getting my hair done, I started getting
clammy, sweaty, and shaky. My vision got very blurry, and I didn’t feel like myself at all. I
asked the hairdresser to go and get me some water, but after I took a few sips, I passed
out. I woke up to the hairdresser blowing cool air from the hairdryer on my face and her
yelling “call 911” to her fellow employees. Once the EMTs got there, all of my vitals
were fine and I started to feel better. Over the next few hours, I got worse and worse.
Once my hair was done, (yes, I stayed to get my hair done…) I realized I wasn’t feeling
like myself at all. My words were coming out slurred, I wasn’t walking straight, and my
vision still wasn’t clear. My dad drove me to the hospital, and after running every test in
the book and spending the night at the hospital with a seizure cap on my head, they
ruled everything out except severe dehydration and an elevated migraine. They also
saw that my cholesterol numbers were a tad high, so they put me on cholesterol
medicine (at 20 years old). Now, I am drinking a lot more water and staying hydrated.
This past week when I went to the doctor, she told me to stop taking the medicine
because there is no reason I should’ve been put on it in the first place. My levels weren’t
severely high, and there are things I can do like eating better and exercising more to
keep it at a healthy level. The medication gave me very weird side effects like sore legs
and very bizarre dreams. I also felt strange a few days after coming off the medicine as

My story is not unique, here’s the problem:

My prescription wasn’t a heavy opioid or hard drug, but there are many more
instances in the world where it is. I didn’t need the medicine, so think about all the
people who are recovering from surgery or a medical procedure and are prescribed
something like hydrocodone or fentanyl patches, and then continue to use them for the
wrong reasons. 16.3 million people misuse prescription drugs a year (1). 22.6% of these
people are misusing prescription drugs for the first time (1). These problems are
extremely common. These problems could also lead to overdose. A drug overdose is
taking too much of a substance, whether it be prescription, over-the-counter, legal, or
illegal (4). Drug overdose deaths caused by prescription opioids rose from 3,442 in
1999 to 17,029 in 2017. From 2017 to 2019, the number of fatalities went down to
14,139, followed by an uproar to 16,416 in 2020 (1). Over 10 million people a year don’t
use opioids in the correct way (1). Not only do they abuse them, but about 48,000
people overdosed on opioids back in 2020 (2). Because of the growing problem, the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in
2017 (2).

Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem:
The non-profit working to solve this public health emergency is the Substance
Abuse and Recovery Alliance of Virginia. Their mission is to transform different
communities in the state through hope, education, treatment, and recovery for addiction,
and to show how we can prevent it (3). They have many members of the group who are
staff of rehab facilities and places that provide treatment and prevention services (3).
They have many affiliates in Virginia, and they all work together to help with this problem. SAARA also has multiple programs available and offers them to people in
recovery or looking for help. They are currently one of the main voices in Virginia on
substance abuse and recovery from it (3). They are continually bringing residents of
these different communities in to show them how they can help this ongoing problem
as well.

Here’s what you can do right now:
You can help by donating to SAARA. Putting in money to this group will
help them go out and do more for different communities and bring more awareness to
the problem at hand. Even as little as ten dollars could help bring awareness to
someone who needs it. This is a huge problem in our communities, state, country, and
world. If we help out these non-profits who are trying to help and make a difference,
then things will hopefully start looking up. This link below will take you to where you can
donate. https://www.saara.org/donate


  1. Opioid crisis statistics [2022]: Prescription opioid abuse. NCDAS. (2022, April 6).
    Retrieved September 11, 2022, from https://drugabusestatistics.org/opioid-
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, July 21). Overdose
    death rates. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved September 11, 2022, from

Categories: Home, op ed

Tagged as: , ,

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s