While many people don’t consider prescription medications part of the “war on drugs,” Ora.tv host Larry King’s guests on Friday argued that they are part of a worse addictive cycle than non-legal drugs.
“So vicodin is a bigger problem than heroin,” King asked Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center medical director Damon Raskin.
“Oh, absolutely,” Raskin said, pointing out that Americans consume nearly 100 percent of Vicodin worldwide.
“It’s a related problem,” addiction specialist Bob Forrest added.
“See, young people have the perception that because this is a legal drug, or it comes from a doctor’s office, that it’s safer,” Raskin explained. “And we absolutely, as you know, know that that’s not true. But they have that perception that, because it is legal, that it’s okay.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, just over 51 percent of 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2013 were caused by abusing prescription medications.
Forrest, who has appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab and runs a clinic in Los Angeles, said painkiller addictions can develop as early as high school, with victims taking them to treat athletic injuries.
“Exposure clicks in a certain biology,” he told King. “Certain people have an experience when they interface with these drugs that’s different than 90 percent of the population. So it makes a mental note: ‘This is good. This is really good.’ And what happens is, as a kid grows up into their late 20s, they start having aches and pains. A lot of my clients will tell you, they know what they want when they sprain their ankle. So this is a sophistication that you see.”
The discussion, as posted by Ora.TV on Friday, can be seen in its entirety below.