When a prescription drug is used in quantities more than the recommended dosage or when not required, it is termed drug abuse. Painkillers, tranquilizers and anti-anxiety drugs are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.
Generally, patients take medicines as prescribed by their doctors. When taken this way, there is very little chance of the patient getting addicted. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), millions of people today use medications for non-medical purposes.
People try to justify drug abuse by convincing themselves that an overdose of prescription drugs is not as bad as street drugs such as heroin or ecstasy. The truth is that any kind of abuse is unwarranted. The problem with prescription drug abuse is that it starts with the consumption of a few extra pills for quick relief. The patient does not realize that abuse or addiction is likely.
If the doctor discontinues the prescription, an addict will seek out another doctor for a prescription of the same drug under false pretexts. Abusers use various methods to get a high. They even mix prescription drugs with alcohol, marijuana or any other similar drug. Drugs such as Ritalin and OxyContin are among the most abused drugs. Prescribing these drugs is carefully monitored and given only when urgently required.
To battle prescription drug abuse, medication directions must always be followed carefully. The physician must always be consulted regarding any change in dosage. It is not advisable to crush the tablets or take them with alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. Also, patients must never use someone else?s prescription, even if the symptoms are similar. The doctors should also exercise caution while prescribing drugs with any possibility of abuse. They must ask patients if they have any history of drug abuse.
Prescription drug abuse can be tackled with regular counseling. There is a lot of information on the Internet, and local physicians are always available for consultations.