America has been ravaged by the worst opiate and opioid epidemic ever recorded in history, with over 2 million people addicted as it stands currently.  More and more people are turning to heroin to relieve their withdrawal pangs from prescription pharmaceuticals that no longer go prescribed by doctors at a certain point.  This is anything but encouraging news and something needs to be done to address this situation in a earnest heartfelt way.  Drug addicts are resorting to pretty desperate, yet inventive and industrious ways in which to get their fix.  Namely, taking a large amounts of diarrhea medication like Immodium.

This is due to the primary active mechanism in loperamide, which is contained in Immodium and other anti-diarrhea medicines, is an opiate.  The human body has opiate receptors in the stomach and taking enough of these medications could conceivably result in a user “high” theoretically.  However the problem lies in these medications inability to permeate the blood brain axis, which is difficult.  The person would need to take an inordinate amount of these anti diarrhea meds in order to have even the slightest buzz from it.  In fact the user would have far more chance of suffering from severe abdominal pain and defecating themselves than get stoned.  Below is an excerpt from the piece ran in The Washington Post by Ben Guarino.

“Loperamide’s accessibility, low cost, over-the-counter legal status and lack of social stigma all contribute to its potential for abuse,” William Eggleston, an author of the case study and a pharmacist at Upstate New York Poison Center, said in a news release. Timed with their report, Eggleston and his colleagues released a searing statement against loperamide abuse on Tuesday, calling it “dumb and dangerous.”

Loperamide’s chief distinction between it and other drugs containing opiates like oxycontin, vicodin and percoset is that it doesn’t contain opiate receptors in the brain, only the gut.  Political officials reasoned that the potential for abuse was likely low, but all that has changed now since this epidemic has slowly addicted the country.  People will look for any cheap and cost-effective shortcut to achieve their high.  Loperamide has even been dubbed the “poor man’s methadone.”  

A few decades later, as the number of Americans addicted to opioids rises, loperamide’s fate changed. By 2013, reports of loperamide being used recreationally had circled the Web long enough for loperamide to pick up a nickname: “poor man’s methadone.”  

We spoke to A Bridge To Growth, A treatment center in Florida, They Said “This underscores the problem with drugs of any kind even over the counter drugs deemed safe for the general public for moderate symptoms.  These drugs taken in the proper dose are perfectly safe the problem lies in people abusing these ingredients to achieve an unnatural effect.”  

This recent trend is very reminiscent of the time products containing pseudoepinephrine were banned for their use in synthesizing crystal meth and speed and the like.  Very little can be done if we don’t attack the root causes of these addictive behaviors and determine what is the real problem facing society in America.