Youth: Prescription Drugs
Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them. But an estimated 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. This is prescription drug abuse. It is a serious and growing problem.
Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction.
Experts don’t know exactly why this type of drug abuse is increasing. The availability of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever before.
How can they be dangerous if the FDA has said they are safe and then doctors are prescribing them to patients?
The fact is that it is unsafe AND illegal to take a prescription drug unless it has been prescribed FOR YOU. It is also illegal to share your prescription medications with others.
Prescription drugs are strong medicines. They are designed to change the way the body works. They can relieve pain, control symptoms and help people heal. But they are unsafe when taken differently than directed by your doctor. They must be used under a doctor’s care.
Whether you realize it or not, using one of these drugs without a doctor’s order is drug abuse.
They CAN harm the body. Taking too much of a prescription drug or using it with other drugs or alcohol can cause the drug to interfere with important body functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
They CAN be addictive. Using any amount more of the drug than is prescribed can lead to addiction. An addicted person can’t stop using the drug without help, even when it causes serious problems with health, family, friends, work, school, money or the law.
Abuse CAN cause an overdose. Taking a large dose of a prescription drug or injecting or snorting ground-up pills can cause a fatal overdose. After car crashes, drug overdoses are the next leading cause of unintended death in the U.S.
Why Are Prescription Drugs Abused? People abuse prescription drugs for many reasons.
- They want to get high – Many drugs act on the brain to produce a rush or good feeling.
- They want to stay awake, concentrate or study
- They want to reduce pain or stress
- They are dependent or addicted – Some people start out using a drug legally, then abuse it
- They can get these drugs easily – from family, friends, multiple pharmacies or the internet.
WARNING SIGNS – You may be abusing prescription drugs if you:
- Ask for a prescription from more than one doctor
- Lie about your health to get a prescription
- Keep using a drug after your original medical condition has been treated.
- Use a prescription drug to get high or to deal with stress.
- Put drugs ahead of family, friends, work, school or health.
If addiction or abuse of prescription drug is suspected a person should not attempt to stop taking prescription medications on their own. Withdrawal symptoms from these drugs can be problematic and in some cases life-threatening. There are multiple modalities of treatment that can be sought: detoxification, inpatient or outpatient counseling, cognitive behavior therapy and recovery groups are all important in the intervention/treatment continuum.
http://dpt2.samhsa.gov/treatment or 1-800-662-4357 for the national 24 hr. hotline
Bluegrass MHMR Board’s 24 hr. hotline is 1-800-928-8000
If in Fayette Co. please call 253-2737.
Please go to the Substance Abuse Information Button on the Home Page for additional treatment resources.