Following the loss of his wife, Roy was treated with tranquilizers. Initially, Xanax helped Roy to sleep and eased the pain due to his loss. The tranquilizers did what they were supposed to do–slow down the central nervous system and create a calming effect. However, Roy soon found himself taking more pills than were prescribed in his initial prescription. After Roy’s doctor stopped prescribing the tranquilizers, he began seeking out additional medical specialists to write prescriptions for painkillers. He was successful in his efforts. In Roy’s mind, this was justified because he experienced unbearable sorrow, and the drugs were not illegal.
Roy began missing work and finding himself fatigued when he did make it to work. After a period of time, Roy was fired. Subsequently, the use of tranquilizers and painkillers continued to increase. Eventually, under the influence of the tranquilizers and painkillers, Roy found himself in an automobile accident that nearly took his life and three others in a second vehicle, including two young children. While in the hospital, Roy began treatment that was designed to alleviate his withdrawal symptoms and the psychological addiction to the painkillers, which now included oxycodone, an opioid agonist with an addiction potential similar to morphine. After an extensive stay in a treatment center, Roy was off the painkillers that had begun to ruin his life. However, several months later Roy found himself depending on caffeine, tobacco, and marijuana just to make it through the day.
Task: Using the integrative/multicausal perspective, answer the following questions and support your answers with evidence.
- Why was it so easy for Roy to become addicted to the prescription drugs, and how did he justify his continued abuse of the painkillers?
- Roy eventually started abusing oxycodone. Why is this considered one of the most dangerous drugs in its class, and for what reason(s) is it prescribed today?