Prescription drug misuse has become a large public health problem, with misuse leading to addiction and a rise in overdose deaths at epidemic levels. National and state statistics also show that prescription drug misuse among teens is a growing problem.
While some studies show that the perception among some teens (and even adults) is that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs, the truth is that prescription drug abuse is dangerous and can cause havoc in a teen’s mind and body, and even death.
HOW ARE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS MISUSED?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens, the following are ways by which people misuse prescription drugs:
- Taking someone else’s prescription medication. Even when someone takes another person’s medication for its intended purposes (such as to relieve pain, to stay awake, or to fall asleep) it is considered misuse.
- Taking a prescription medication in a way other than prescribed. Taking your own prescription in a way that it is not meant to be taken is also misuse. This includes taking more of the medication than prescribed or changing its form—for example, breaking or crushing a pill or capsule and then snorting the powder.
- Taking a prescription medication to get high. Some types of prescription drugs also can produce pleasurable effects or “highs.” Taking the medication only for the purpose of getting high is considered prescription drug misuse.
- Mixing it with other drugs. In some cases, if you mix your prescription drug with alcohol and certain other drugs, it is considered misuse and it can be dangerous.