Prescription drug abuse is a problem that few individuals fully comprehend. After all, in order to obtain prescription drugs most individuals have to go visit their medical doctor, an individual who is highly trained and whose opinion is therefore highly trusted and rarely even questioned or second-guessed. This trusted professional reviews the individual’s condition and recommends the use of medications that are FDA-approved. This can leave the individual with the idea that these medications will solve their problems for them, and they may unknowingly step forward onto the path of prescription drug abuse and addiction.
One fact about drugs is that these are chemical substances that are not designed to resolve the problems for which they are taken, but can only suppress the undesirable symptoms of these problems. This is true of all drugs, even prescription medications. One can clearly see evidence of this when they consider an individual who is suffering from the pain of a broken bone – painkillers will not heal the bone but they will interrupt the body’s communication of pain so that the individual experiences relief.
One may argue that since prescription drugs can aid an individual in working through pain, they are helpful. This may be true, but they still come with risks, including the risk of abuse. Once an individual has determined that these drugs help them in some way, their inclination may be to continue using these drugs. In some cases they may not even devote any attention toward resolving the underlying problem, they simply continue using drugs in order to suppress the problem.
Eventually, the human body will grow to tolerate drug substances and the individual no longer experiences the same effects as a result of the same amount or type of drug use. In most cases, this new problem is handled through an increase of drug use or a switch to more potent drug substances. This leads directly into drug dependence, the condition wherein the individual’s body has grown to depend upon drug substances for normal functioning, and the individual no longer has any control over their drug use patterns. At this point the individual will compulsively continue to use drug substances despite the damaging effects it is causing to their health, relationships and life. When prescription medications are the reason for dependence and addiction problems they can cause even more confusion and upset for the individual because they never would have imagined that their doctor would give them something that could harm them.
Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is the use of prescription medications in any way other than as is intended. This includes taking higher doses than is recommended, taking the drug for longer than is recommended, crushing pills that are meant to be swallowed, or taking medication that was intended for someone else. In order to effectively fight prescription drug abuse problems, doctors, patients and indeed the general public need to be better educated about these drug substances and their dangerous side effects. Furthermore, because individuals who have not even seen a medical doctor may find prescription drugs in their family medicine cabinet and decide they are safe to use, especially if these prescription drugs are lying around unused, learning to safely and correctly dispose of one’s unused prescription drugs is part of successfully preventing their abuse.
In Taylor County officials have placed a prescription drug box in the courthouse lobby so that county residents can safely dispose of their unused or expired prescription pills. Disposing of these pills down the drain can affect the water system, and throwing them in the garbage can leave them open to being taken and abused by others. By providing a drop off box, individuals are able to help fight prescription drug abuse by correctly disposing of these potentially harmful medications.