Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription drug in a way not intended by the prescribing physician.
Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription pain reliever for your back pain to sniffing or injecting ground pills to get high. Many people may not be aware that prescription drug abuse can affect all age groups, including teenagers, and can be hidden all around us. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioid pain relievers, anxiolytics, sedatives and stimulants.
Identifying the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse will vary depending on the drug in question. However, the most common signs and symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, slowed breathing rate, poor concentration / coordination, and restlessness.
Patients prescribed prescription drugs can avoid the risk of abuse by following these steps, read directions carefully and follow directions on the label or by the pharmacist, be aware of potential interactions with others drugs and alcohol, never change the dosage without consulting a doctor. First, never use someone else’s prescription and keep your medications safe.
Patients should never be afraid to ask their doctor or pharmacist about their medications. Pharmacists can help patients understand the instructions for taking the medicine, as well as how it works. Doctors can make sure you are prescribed the right medicine and talk about any medical problems you may have.
In addition to prescribing medication, the medication may not always be used, leaving unwanted and unused medication lying around for others to pick up. Patients should properly dispose of unused or expired drugs at specific drug collection sites.
The Leeward Initiative organizes a medication recovery day twice a year. Last month, The Leeward Initiative collected 185 pounds of medication with over 75 participants.