Prescription Drug Abuse / PSA Video
Prescription Drug Abuse / PSA Video. From the public domain. Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them. But an estimated 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. This is prescription drug abuse. It is a serious and growing problem. Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. You can develop an addiction to: Narcotic painkillers Sedatives and tranquilizers Stimulants Experts don't know exactly why this type of drug abuse is increasing. The availability of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever before. Online pharmacies make it easy to get prescription drugs without a prescription, even for youngsters. Some people experiment with prescription drugs because they think they will help them have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively. Prescription drugs can be easier to get than street drugs: Family members or friends could have a prescription. But prescription drugs are also sometimes sold on the street like other illegal drugs. A 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that among all youths aged 12 to 17, 6% had tried prescription drugs for recreational use in the last month. Why? Some people think that prescription drugs are safer and less addictive than street drugs. After all, these are drugs that moms, dads, and even kid brothers and sisters use. To Angie, taking her brother's ADHD medicine felt like a good way to keep her appetite in check. She'd heard how bad diet pills can be, and she wrongly thought that the ADHD drugs would be safer. But prescription drugs are only safe for the individuals who actually have prescriptions for them. That's because a doctor has examined these people and prescribed the right dose of medication for a specific medical condition. The doctor has also told them exactly how they should take the medicine, including things to avoid while taking the drug — such as drinking alcohol, smoking, or taking other medications. They also are aware of potentially dangerous side effects and can monitor patients closely for these. Other people who try prescription drugs are like Todd. They think they're not doing anything illegal because these drugs are prescribed by doctors. But taking drugs without a prescription — or sharing a prescription drug with friends — is actually breaking the law.