Questions and Answers

Prescription Drugs

Primarily due to easy accessibility, prescription drug use/abuse is one of the fastest growing trends in the United States. If you have a cough, a headache, a fever, a stomach ache, if you can't go to sleep, if you sleep too much, what do you do? Take a pill. At least that is what many of us have been taught to do by our parents or recommended to do by our doctors. Pills help people feel better and they are particularly more potent and more effective when prescribed by a doctor. Isn't this what most people think? The problem is that some pills are very addictive and if an extra pill is taken more often than recommended or given to a friend, then it is considered abuse. As innocent as what is being described sounds - it is extremely dangerous. We believe education is the best way to promote awareness about this growing epidemic.

What is considered prescription drug abuse?

    • Prescription drug abuse includes any non-medical use of a prescription medication or not using drugs exactly as prescribed for the patient.
    • Taking medication without a prescription because the drugs were obtained illegally or using a friend's or family member's prescription is considered abuse.

Why are these drugs abused?

    • Prescription drug abuse includes any non-medical use of a prescription medication or not using drugs exactly as prescribed for the patient.
    • Taking medication without a prescription because the drugs were obtained illegally or using a friend's or family member's prescription is considered abuse.

Aren’t these drugs legal to use and safe because they are regulated?

    • Yes, they're legal and generally safe for patients for whom the drugs are prescribed if they're used in the way their doctors prescribe them.
    • No, they're illegal and unsafe if they are abused by patients or used by someone for whom they were not prescribed.
    • Something that makes these drugs even more dangerous is the fact that they're available everywhere – your kitchen counter, your daughter’s best friend’s backpack, your aging parents' medicine cabinet. They are easier to get but just as dangerous as illegal drugs.

What about prescription drugs bought via the Internet?

    • What's great about drug information on the Internet is the same as what's awful about drug information on the Internet – there’s so much of it. You can discover your options for legitimate prescription drug therapy online, and you can find out exactly how much Tylenol PM to mix with heroin for the best high.
    • The web has brought with it easy availability of prescription drugs, too, and these pharmacies often do not require patients to be examined in person. Dangerously potent medicines can be bought by anyone with a search engine and a credit card number.
    • Not all online pharmacies are legitimate – how do you know that the medication contains the right amount of an active ingredient?
    • The location for these pharmacies can be easily falsified. Suppliers may say that a medication comes from a country with strict regulations on drug manufacturing, but buyers can’t know for sure that their medicines are produced according to government guidelines with only a website's word for it.

Are there any over-the-counter medicines being abused?

    • The most common one is cough medicine with dextromethorphan (DXM) abused for its almost hallucinogenic effects.
    • Some over-the-counter drugs like pseudophedrine are mixed with other products such as nail polish removers and used to make illegal drugs like methamphetamine and GHB.
    • Over-the-counter drugs can cause adverse reactions due to medical conditions or other medications the user has already taken. Just because they are legally available without a prescription doesn't mean they are safe, especially when not used according to directions.

Prescription Drug Resources

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