One has always heard the phrase that, “An addict will do anything to get high.” That has been a well-known fact for as long as there have been addicts. What is truly interesting about the 21st century, however, is not so much what an addict will go through to get high, but the substances they will actually use to get high.
With each passing year, addicts are becoming more innovative, more creative, and unfortunately more prone to risky experimentation and dangerous trends. One such trend that has emerged in the last few years is that addicts are now abusing anti-diarrheal drugs just to get high.
The fact that addicts will go to any extent to get high is embodied in the truth that addicts will consume one-hundred to five-hundred anti-diarrhea drugs in one day, to experience the equivalent of an opioid high that they might get from prescription opioids or heroin. While an anti-diarrheal alternative is not necessarily the first choice for addicts, it is sought as a backup plan, something to do just to “get by” while an addict seeks out a better drug option.
But still, the fact that an opioid addict would look for and get a cheap high by taking over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines is pretty indicative of how bad drug use has gotten in this nation.
According to the FDA, some addicts are self-medicating on loperamide, the generic anti-diarrheal, also known as Imodium A-D. And what is even more concerning here is the fact that such addicts are getting high for pennies on the dollar. An opioid addict can get a decent opiate hit by taking about four-hundred capsules of Imodium A-D, four-hundred capsules of which can be purchased for about ten dollars.
The risk here is obvious. An addict has to take hundreds of Imodium A-D pills to get a little opiate bump, being that the anti-diarrheal drugs have very small, trace elements of opioids in them. The recommended dosage of an anti-diarrheal is at most sixteen milligrams, yet an addict will easily consume four hundred to six hundred milligrams of the drug in one day. One does not have to look far to see the risks attendant in such exorbitant use of the drug.
One of the most prevalent risks involved with taking such a significant amount of anti-diarrheal medicines is, of course, the resulting heart problems that one will likely have. The human body is simply not meant to consume four-hundred capsules of anything in one day. Even though this drug use trend is relatively new, there have already been reported cases of people having heart problems from such a habit, going into overdoses on that many loperamide pills, and even dying from consuming that many capsules.
But in spite of the risks involved, that doesn’t stop addicts from becoming interested in anti-diarrheal medicines as a backup plan when they don’t have access to real opiate drugs. According to the National Poison Data System, there was a seventy-one percent increase in calls relating to loperamide usage.
According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration:
Dr. Gottlieb’s words could not be more valuable now, as the abuse of Loperamide grows more prevalent amongst the opioid community. We need to reduce risk in any way we can, to get addicts to stop messing around with a drug that could easily kill them.
Addicts will go to any lengths to get high, and this is why we need to help them as soon as possible. The FDA has asked manufacturers of anti-diarrheal medicines to switch to blister packs that limit the number of pills that a customer can purchase at one time. Because addicts have to take so many of the pills to get just one high, if limits were enforced on how much of the pills could be purchased, it would help serve to close this route as an avenue by which opioid addicts use drugs.
Another approach is to raise awareness of the risks attendant with self-medicating on anti-diarrheal drugs. People need to know that taking more than the recommended dosage can cause serious heart problems and even death. People need to know what is at stake here.