Humanity hasn’t actually had any serious drug laws prior to the late 1800s. And even then they were merely regulatory laws, requiring simply to register as a drug user or to stop smoking opium in opium dens. Otherwise, everybody had access to every single drug on which they could get their hands.
So of course, now that pretty much all drugs are illegal, people aren’t taking to it very well. As shown by the complete legalization of drugs in countries like the Netherlands, allowing people access to drugs leads to a momentary spike in use, but it quickly abates as people start getting bored.
Meanwhile, in countries where drugs are fully illegal like in the United States, drug use is associated with far more dangers. Two of these would be the increased chances of getting in contact with more dangerous drugs when attempting to buy safer ones, as well as the far higher chances to suffer potential drug overdoses.
But since new legislations are even harder on addicts, they usually tend to find workarounds so as to keep practicing their addiction. And these workarounds might prove even deadlier than the usual drugs they were taking. Add to that the fact that the regular substitutes for drugs like heroin were also put through more severe laws, and we’ve got addicts experimenting with whatever over the counter drugs they can find.
In fact, according to a recent article published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, addicts are OD-ing on anti-diarrhea drugs. They are using the medicine as substitutes for opioids, since the law has just tightened regarding their favorite over the counter alternatives of choice.
The medicine used is mostly Imodium A-D, and experts are worried that if more people find out about the opioid-like qualities of the drug, more overdoses will start occurring. This is because it’s only in the past few years that the dangers of Imodium’s active substance, loperamide, were revealed to the medical community.
However, this isn’t the first time an over the counter drug has been used for its narcotic effects in very high dosages. Sudafed and other decongestants can be used to make methamphetamines because of the pseudoephedrine, and the dextromethorphan in some cough medicines like Robitussin can also lead to a high when taken in high dosages.
But the fact that Imodium A-D can be purchased online for $7 a bottle containing 400 tablets has made it very easy to use it as a potentially fatal, very cheap, heroin replacement for those crafty addicts. State officials are thinking of ways to limit the abuse potential of the drug, considering even regulating it even further.
Image source: Imodium.co.uk