According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 20% of the United States population has taken a prescription medicine for non-medical reasons in the past year. Some people who abuse prescription drugs may think they do not have a problem or that they are in no risk of harm due to long-standing beliefs and misinformation. These myths about prescription drug abuse can be dangerous unless more people become aware of the facts regarding the strong potential that so many prescription drugs have for abuse and addiction.
MYTH: Prescription medications are safer than illegal drugs
Some people mistakenly believe that because you can legally obtain prescription drugs they must be safe. This is not true. Prescription drugs carry risks and have side effects that can be dangerous or even deadly for some people. Prescription drugs are removed from the market on a regular basis due to safety considerations. Prescription drugs should be used only under the supervision of a physician and in the dose and timing prescribed.
MYTH: Prescription medications are legal
This is both true and false. Prescription drugs are only legal to those who have a legitimate prescription. Without a doctor’s prescription, it is both illegal and potentially dangerous to take these types of medications.
MYTH: Using another person’s prescribed medication is not abuse
Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that if they use a friend’s or relative’s prescription medication, it is not abuse. However, unless the medication was specifically prescribed to you, this is not only abuse, but it is illegal as well. The Elks National Drug Awareness Program has a flyer that states that taking a prescription medicine that is prescribed to someone else can increase the risk of overdose or death when combined with other drugs or alcohol.
MYTH: Using a prescribed medicine for other reasons is not abuse
If your doctor gives you a prescription for medication, it is to be used as prescribed and for the reasons prescribed. Using your medicine for other reasons is abuse.
MYTH: It is difficult to obtain prescription drugs
While it might be hard for some people to get prescription medications through their own physicians, a legitimate prescription is not the most common way that people who abuse prescriptions drugs obtain these medications. It is not uncommon for those who abuse prescription drugs to get them from friends or relatives, for free or purchased. Some people will also steal them from a friend or family member.
MYTH: Only pain killers are abused
While narcotic pain relievers are the most common type of prescription drug that is abused, other types of prescription medications are abused as well. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- Pain killers
- Sedatives, tranquilizers
- Additionally, any prescription medication can be abused if it is taken for non-medical reasons.
Prescription Drug Abuse Help
It is important to get help if you or someone you love is abusing or addicted to prescription drugs. When choosing from available treatment facilities, find one that understands the special requirements of prescription drug withdrawal, treatment, and recovery. With the right treatment, you or your loved one can live a life free from the grip of prescription drug abuse or addiction.