As I pondered the statement and felt my eyebrows furrowing, I found myself wondering how on earth that happened. Of course, it really isn’t that difficult. You just have to be distracted and take too many of one, or mix up the combination if taking more than one kind of medication. Or even being in so much pain, you make the decision that one pill made you feel some better, then certainly one or two more would really take the pain or discomfort away.
The ramifications of this happening can be huge; hospitalization due to increased respiratory rate, a significant rise in blood pressure, or chest pain. It can be a lesser reaction like rash, sleepiness or confusion, but just as important. Sometimes mixing medication can cause a reaction which damages specific organs causing all kinds of problems. An overdose of any kind of medication, depending on the person’s age, health and metabolism can cause death.
According to an article in the LA Times in February 2013, fatal drug overdoses have increased eleven years in a row! That amazes me. And apparently the trend of overdoses is coming from prescription painkillers. That not only amazes me, it frightens me. Three fourths of the deaths are coming from drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet and the numbers of these types of deaths are outnumbering the deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. That is chilling. And sadly, it doesn’t need to be just prescription drugs which can cause an overdose. Even over the counter drugs can be deadly.
The anecdote I began with was certainly an accidental overdose. And there are those situations where little ones, toddlers or children who are curious about everything, find a bottle of medicine and without a thought take some. Statistics show often when one child takes pills in this situation, if another child is present; the problem is compounded because the first child will “share” with the second. But what about those who intentionally take prescription drugs with the hope they never waken, because they have no hope and only want to rid themselves of the despair that blackens their world?
When I think of the young people who are so frazzled, depressed, and overwhelmed by their world they reach for something so dramatic to take away the pain, my heart breaks. We live in a world where people often forget about other people. We are so caught up in our own little dramas every day we often miss the signals from others who are drowning in situations far worse than our own.
Many will wear a smile and be cordial and pleasant in public, but when left alone, sink far down in the miry muck they call their life. This type of despair is especially difficult to recognize. Others will become belligerent and angry at everyone and act out, giving very clear signals there is a problem. When the problem is finally noticed what is done about it? Do we scold and tell them how awful they are rather than addressing the real issue? Or do we love them unconditionally, letting them know it matters not what their world or problem is, we still love them enough to help them see the light?
Our world is rapidly changing, and sadly not for the better. There are so many adversaries which attack us every day and when we consider our youth who are vulnerable by the mere aspect of their age and inexperience, we need to love them more than ever. We need to let our young people know emphatically, there is nothing which separates them from our love.