Prescription Drug Abuse – Beware

by Faith A. Coleman MD / 2012

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is fast-becoming the most common and most threatening drug-related problem in our culture. All ages are affected; among teens it’s epidemic. Prescription drug abuse results in one death every 19 minutes in the United States.

Prescription drug abuse (to simplify, this article will use the word “abuse” to describe a spectrum of behaviors, including but not limited to misuse, abuse and addiction) is the act of someone ingesting a prescription drug other than the person for whom it was prescribed, for a purpose other than its intended action, in an inappropriate manner.

Prescription drugs are often stolen from friends and relatives. Medicine cabinets, kitchen cupboards, purses, and auto glove compartments are common sites for prescriptions in use and those used years ago. There are few guarantees in life, but this is one of them: a prescription drug abuser/addict on a hunt can always find more places to search than anyone can find places for hiding.

Abusers have countless rationalizations for their use. Some seem plausible (especially to the abuser), but there are NO justifiable uses for prescription drugs other than the use for which they were prescribed, by the person for whom they were prescribed. Wanting to get “high”, to dull emotional or physical pain, peer pressure, desperation to fit into a group, ANY group, (gangs, bullies, drop-outs, truants, shop-lifters) and other “reasons” are given. Stimulants are popular for staying awake studying for exams, for adults trying to keep their “competitive edge” in a tight job market, or, by necessity, working multiple jobs. Prescription drugs are big business on the street; the thief may not be the user.

A future article will discuss specific drugs, use and misuse, dangers, signs and symptoms of use, and appropriate action when misuse is suspected. Today, the most important message to readers is that ALL drugs should be assumed DEADLY except for the person for whom it is prescribed.

The holiday season can be joyful and exhilarating, but there are often extra family, workplace and financial demands. More socializing can mean more access to prescription drugs in homes and other gatherings. Practice prevention, year-

round. Medicines don’t belong in medicine cabinets. They should ALL be locked up ALWAYS. However annoying or inconvenient, an extra minute or two is trivial when those minutes are preventing a catastrophe. No one should ever have to hold vigil at the bedside of their own or their best friends’ teen, praying for signs of life to return.

It may seem like our kids don’t hear much of what we say, but current, well-done research showed that THE MOST IMPORTANT INFLUENCE IN KEEPING KIDS OFF DRUGS IS THEIR PARENTS! Your teen may resent your rules and protest your control. It is not a parent’s job to be liked. All kids will experience peer pressure to misuse drugs. Rejoice if you get to hear your teen say “No way! My parents would kill me!” You gave them a way out, a way they didn’t lose face. For more information: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Source: 2012

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