Over the years, online prescriptions have steadily increased—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Accessing medications online and delivering them to your front door has become incredibly convenient and economical. While this system can be efficient, it can be dangerous for those with prescriptions that are addictive substances.
Types of Addictive Prescription Drugs Available Online
The most common addictive prescription drugs found online are opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. Prescription opioids available online are hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and codeine. Opioids are the most common prescription drugs used for treating pain. Pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone produce a relaxing, euphoric effect, increasing the risk of dependence and potential addiction. Prescription opioids are prescribed to treat acute pain only temporarily due to their addictive tendencies.
Benzodiazepines (benzos) prescriptions available online are Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), and Clonazepam (Klonopin). Benzodiazepines are part of a larger class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that slow down brain activity to generate a calming, soothing effect. Benzos are generally prescribed to treat severe anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia.
Stimulants—central nervous system (CNS) stimulants—available for purchase online are Amphetamines (Adderall and Vyvanse) and Methylphenidates (Ritalin or Concerta). CNS stimulants trigger chemicals in the brain to improve alertness, focus, and energy. Stimulants are often prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and sleep disorders (narcolepsy). Acquiring online prescriptions can be dangerous with addictive substances like opioids, benzos, and stimulants. Online pharmacies hold risks, such as prescription misuse, but they also carry a range of benefits.
Telehealth and Prescription Drugs
The universal argument that telehealth is less effective than in-person health visits is not necessarily valid. A popular claim is that vulnerable patients can be taken advantage of through telehealth visits by being prescribed addictive substances without the appropriate supervision. It is also argued that telehealth is time-sensitive for those living in rural or remote areas or who don’t have a flexible schedule. A key factor of telehealth success is finding a healthcare professional best suited for the patient and their needs.
Telehealth is not for everyone. Some patients prefer to receive in-person care and counseling because that has proven most effective for them. Patients that prefer telehealth visits are either more comfortable doing them from home, or it’s all their schedules will allow. There is no right or wrong choice regarding telehealth or in-person visits—both have successful results and can provide the necessary prescriptions.
Prescription drugs should only be acquired through a licensed healthcare professional and monitored throughout use. Consuming medications, especially addictive prescription drugs, without medical supervision can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
The Pros and Cons of Online Prescriptions
While online prescriptions can offer convenience and accessibility for patients, there are also potential dangers associated with this practice. Accessing prescriptions online without the hassle of in-person contact can be safe and effective if acquired through a registered pharmacy. Exercising caution and research when considering online prescription services is essential to ensure their legitimacy. The benefits of online prescriptions can vary depending on the particular online service and the patient’s needs and circumstances.
Pro: More Convenient
Patients can request and receive prescriptions from the comfort of their homes or workplaces without visiting a doctor’s office or pharmacy in person. This can save time and reduce travel costs, especially for patients who live in rural or remote areas. Accessing medications online is incredibly convenient for those with busy schedules or without a vehicle.
Pro: Increased Accessibility
Patients with mobility issues or disabilities benefit from the accessibility of online prescriptions. It can be convenient for those with tight schedules who need more time or freedom to drive to the pharmacy or doctor’s office. Many patients have difficulty accessing in-person medical care for financial, travel, or physical reasons. Online pharmacies make acquiring your prescriptions effortless and accessible.
Pro: More Efficient
Prescriptions can be transmitted swiftly and carefully online, lowering the possibility of being misplaced or lost. Additionally, this could shorten patient wait times and speed up medication administration from healthcare providers.
Pro: Cost Savings
Due to the potential elimination of particular overhead expenses related to maintaining a physical medical office, online prescription services may be more affordable than in-person care. Prescriptions are often cheaper online in comparison to a traditional street-side pharmacy.
Pro: Increased Medication Adherence
Patients who use online prescription services may receive helpful alerts and reminders for taking their medications, enhancing medication adherence and general health outcomes.
Con: Fraudulent Websites
Patients might encounter fake websites that advertise online prescriptions but are not legitimate. These websites might not have the proper registration or follow the correct procedures for confirming the patients’ identities or medical histories—possibly resulting in incorrect prescriptions or dangerous interactions.
Con: Lack of Medical Supervision
Online prescription services and pharmacies might not offer patients enough medical oversight or follow-up care, which could result in inadequate or inaccurate diagnoses and treatments. The lack of medical supervision could also result in a patient receiving too much or too little medication, resulting in potential substance abuse.
Con: Personal Health Information Violations
Private, personal health information may become accessible due to security flaws or hacking that affect registered pharmacies and online prescription services.
Con: Dependence on Online Prescriptions and Care
Patients who only use online prescription services might miss in-person medical benefits like physical examinations, health screenings, and individualized treatment plans. Getting accustomed to accessing virtual healthcare could hinder patients from social interaction altogether.
Con: Misuse of Medication
Online pharmacies and prescription services might overprescribe medications, leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other health concerns like substance abuse. The 2018 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health state that prescription pain relievers were the most repeatedly misused illicit drugs by Americans ages 12 and older.
If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription drug abuse, get help immediately.
Get Help Battling Addiction
Ensuring an online prescription service is legitimate, secure, and adheres to proper medical protocols is essential. Patients should also seek medical advice and care from qualified healthcare professionals. Patients should carefully consider online prescription services’ potential risks and benefits and seek medical advice from qualified healthcare professionals when necessary.
Are you or someone you love struggling with an addiction to prescription medications? Coastal Detox is here to help you. One of our trained staff members can answer all your questions and assist you on the road to recovery.