Don’t be fooled into thinking prescription drugs are safe to use recreationally. According to WhiteHouse.gov, nearly a third of people over 12 who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug without the guidance of a doctor.
In addition to being a gateway to dangerous drug abuse habits, prescription drugs can lead to serious dependence, addiction and death. Learn more from these common drug abuse myths.
Myth: Prescription drugs are safe because they come from doctors.
Fact: When a doctor prescribes a serious opiate or other type of drug, they expect the patient to take that drug exactly as prescribed. Even then, there are known risks that are clearly described in the paperwork that comes with the drugs from the pharmacy. Many medical treatments, including drugs, come with risks. This is one of the reasons why it’s especially important not to take prescription drugs without your doctor’s care, and to avoid taking them if there are other options for pain or symptom management. Many prescription drugs pose a risk of overdose that can cause death.
Myth: You can’t become addicted to prescription drugs.
Fact: Prescription drugs can be as addictive as any other types of street drugs. Painkillers are especially dangerous when abused or used too often, even as prescribed. Opiods can cause physical dependence and addiction, both of which can potentially devastate a user’s life and cause physical withdrawal symptoms. If you or a loved one is experiencing drug dependence or addiction, find a treatment center.
Myth: It’s okay to take someone else’s prescription.
Fact: Just because someone else was prescribed a medication doesn’t mean it’s safe or legal for you to take it. Sharing or selling prescription medication can lead to felony charges. This isn’t something to take lightly. Because prescription drug abuse is becoming an epidemic in the United States, lawmakers and enforcers, as well as health professionals, are especially concerned with cracking down on prescription abuse and doctor shopping. If a friend offers you prescription drugs, such as narcotic painkillers, it’s still illegal and potentially dangerous. Consider what might happen if you had a dangerous allergic reaction or an overdose and needed emergency assistance. Both you and your friend could end up behind bars over one bad choice.