Poison is anything in the form of a solid, liquid, spray, or gas that can cause harm to a living organism.
We live amongst poisonous substances; they are found in prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, household cleaners, and carbon monoxide. When we are exposed to them every day, without caution, they can cause temporary damage and even death.
In terms of drug poisoning, any illicit or OTC substance, including supplements, have the potential to be poisonous, and this toxicity can be intentional or unintentional.
What is drug poisoning in terms of illicit substances?
Consuming any illicit drug opens one up to many dangers, including drug poisoning. Commonly, drug poisoning is prevalent with the use of opioids, cocaine, marijuana, and hallucinogens. When illicit drugs are used to get high, amounts may be taken in such large quantities that one’s metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough to avoid unintended side effects. The consumption usually results in an overdose, which can also lead to death. Since illicit drugs are not regulated by the FDA, there are no dosage quantifications or warning labels, and the amount required to get “high” is left up to the user. This is usually measured by trial and error.
What is drug poisoning in connection with prescribed medications?
Prescribed medications can also be poisonous if taken incorrectly and in large doses. It’s extremely important to identify any warnings against consuming alcohol while taking the drug. Not only can alcohol interactions decrease the effectiveness of the medication, but they can also cause mild to severe side effects. These side effects may include nausea, dizziness, headaches, and changes in blood pressure and/or heart rate. Long-term effects can cause heart damage, internal bleeding, depression, liver damage, and more.
The bottom line is drug poisoning is not just linked to illicit drugs – we know the dangers when choosing to use them. Drug companies, pharmacists. and doctors are trying to do their part with education and warning labels, but it’s up to the user to take responsibility and follow them.
If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol or drug treatment, contact us anytime at (877) 977-3268. We are here to help.
Alcohol Interactions With Medications: Effects and Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2016.
Drug Overdose & Poisoning Directory: Find News, Features, and Coverage Related to Drug Overdose & Poisoning. (2015). Retrieved July 25, 2016.