Prescription drugs help people manage and overcome various diseases. However, there are times when the drugs dispensed to help instead become the problem. Prescription drug abuse has become a serious problem in the United States, with everyone from teenagers to older adults falling victim to the problem. As awareness has grown in recent years, more effort has been placed on preventing the drug abuse before it gets too out of control. To make sure you or a loved one does not fall into the trap of prescription drug abuse, there are many things you can do to decrease your risk.
The most important thing is to make sure you are taking the correct medication for your problem. When you’re talking with your doctor, make sure they know all the medications you’re taking and that they clearly understand any side effects or issues the medication is causing. Sometimes, the extended-release version of a drug is available by prescription, and it often contains a less addictive formulation of the ingredients.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
It’s also important to keep in touch with your doctor and follow the directions they give you for taking the medication. Many people make the mistake of changing their dosage or skipping dosages and then doubling up on the medication, thinking there will be no problems. Unfortunately, this can often trigger the beginning of a prescription drug abuse problem because the body starts to need more and more of the medication to control pain or other aspects of a condition.
Be very clear about the side effects of the medication you’re taking. Many drugs list addiction as a possibility. So to double check, it’s useful to speak with your pharmacist when you pick up your prescription if you have any questions. If after you start taking the medication and notice any of the serious side effects taking place, call your doctor immediately and follow their instructions. For some people who have difficulty taking their own medication, they will often turn to a friend or family member and take something prescribed for them instead. Not only is this wrong, but it could also prove fatal since you have not been cleared by a doctor to take the medication. Even if you have a similar medical condition, never take someone else’s medication without first talking to your doctor.
Beware of Online Pharmacies
As the cost of prescription drugs has continued to escalate over the years, many people are looking for alternative and cheaper ways to get their medications. One of the most popular ways to get medication today is by ordering from online pharmacies, some of which are located outside the United States. While sometimes the prices may seem too good to be true, that’s because they often are. Many of these so-called pharmacies are not selling legitimate drugs, but instead sell what are known as counterfeit prescription drugs that cannot only be highly addictive, but also dangerous due to their makeup. Many of these drugs have ingredients such as antifreeze, motor oil or other chemicals that can prove fatal if swallowed.
Keep Prescription Drugs Locked Up
If there is a person in the home that may be in danger of developing a prescription drug abuse problem, keep the drugs locked up in a safe place. Purchasing a safe or other box designed to store important items may be a good idea, and make sure a trustworthy person has the key and knows who is to get the medication.
While prescription drug abuse is a big problem today, using some common sense and working with your doctor can help ensure a problem does not begin or a small problem does not turn into a big one.