Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Prescription Drug Safety

According to the Journal of Preventative Medicine, poisoning from prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers has increased by 65 percent over a seven year period. Opioid prescription drugs now cause more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Abuse of prescription drugs has gotten so bad that the CDC has categorized it as an epidemic.

Some of the drugs in this category include Percocet, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Vicodin, and many others.The abuse of these substances is not an issue that just affects junkies in back alleys. This problem affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. I believe one reason for the increase of this problem is because these drugs are not considered "dirty' since you don't smoke or inject them. It's also easier to rationalize taking something that has been prescribed by a physician.

As a teenager I was prescribed Percocet when I got my wisdom teeth out. I loved how it made me feel light headed, sweaty and warm when I took it. When I had similar drugs prescribed years later after a surgery, I was reluctant to use them since I was afraid of becoming addicted. When I've seen pain killers prescribed for myself and others, I have been shocked at how large the supply is. Why prescribe a huge bottle of addictive drugs that will last a whole week, when the immediate pain of surgery is usually only intense for a couple days? No wonder so many people become addicted to these substances.

Here are some guidelines to protect you and your family against prescription drug abuse.

1) If you don't feel you really need a heavy duty pain killer, then don't accept the prescription. Use alternative pain relief when possible.
2) If you have been prescribed pain killers, follow the directions carefully.
3) Don't use old or expired prescriptions.
4) When using prescription drugs, be aware of other drug interactions.
5) Keep drugs in a safe place out of the reach of children.
6) Don't drive or operate machinery when using drugs that cause drowsiness.
7) Dispose of old drugs so they don't become a temptation for misuse or potential theft.
8) Don't share or offer your prescriptions to others.

It's a shame when lives ends prematurely due to accidental overdose, misuse, or abuse of prescription drugs.

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