What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

January 28, 2016

pic of GoldiePrescription drug abuse is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason—like to get high.
It has become a big health issue because of the dangers, particularly the danger of abusing prescription pain medications. For teens, it is a growing problem:

After marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans age 14 and older.

Teens abuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons, such as to get high, to stop pain, or because they think it will help them with school work.

Most teens get prescription drugs they abuse from friends and relatives, sometimes without the person knowing.

Boys and girls tend to abuse some types of prescription drugs for different reasons. For example, boys are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants to get high, while girls tend to abuse them to stay alert or to lose weight.

When prescription drugs are taken as directed, they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs.

When prescription drugs are abused, they can be addictive and put the person at risk for other harmful health effects, such as overdose (especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol). And, abusing prescription drugs is illegal—and that includes sharing prescriptions with family members or friends.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
There are three kinds of prescription drugs that are commonly abused.

Opioids—painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin, or codeine

Depressants—like those used to relieve anxiety or help a person sleep, such as Valium or Xanax

Stimulants—like those used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall and Ritalin

The Clare County Communities That Care Coalition in collaboration with local law enforcement aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. There are two drop boxes in Clare County for you to dispose of unused or unwanted prescriptions that you may lying around the house. Please keep them out of the hands of our youth by disposing of them at one of the drop box sites.

The drop boxes are located in the lobbies of the Clare County Sheriff’s Department in Harrison and the Clare City Police Department in Clare.

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