When people think of drug addiction, they usually imagine backstreet deals, injections with dirty needles, and suspicious-looking white powder. And while this is a largely accurate view of some of the worst parts of drug addiction, it can hide from view some widely spread and equally dangerous drug issues. Prescription medication is designed to help us. It is supposed to be for our good, helping us to recover from whatever ails us. But misuse of prescription drugs can quickly turn them from something that makes us better, to something that could be fatal.
They Must be Okay if the Doctor Gave Them to Me
One common misconception is that, because they are doctor-prescribed, all prescription drugs are always good. What is important to remember however, is that there is a reason that they are still called “drugs.” Anything that is given that label is capable of being misused. Prescriptions are intended to be used only in the manner prescribed, by the person for whom they were prescribed. If a doctor prescribes drugs, they are for a specific purpose. If you take someone else’s medication, or too much of your own, it can have dangerous consequences.
From Relief to Reliance
Many serious drug addictions start with nothing more than using too many prescription drugs. Painkillers can be one of the most common culprits. What starts out as relief from an injury or pain, can easily develop. You might take one extra pill to help eradicate the pain, perhaps the regular dosage has stopped working. The frequency at which you take the pills increases, as you need more and more to feel the effects. Soon enough, it is no longer relief from pain, but reliance on the drug that keeps you taking them.
Research conducted in the last two years has suggested that prescription medications are increasingly becoming gateway drugs, causing people to move on and become addicted to street drugs. It often starts off with nothing more than a reliance on painkillers. It could be someone who is using a friend or family member’s prescription drugs, or even their own. Eventually you want more, and stronger drugs become more appealing. Illegal street drugs are even more dangerous than prescription drugs, as they are not monitored or safe, and just one use of one dose could potentially kill a person.
Awareness and Moderation
This does not mean that prescription drugs are not safe or should not be used. On the contrary, when used exactly as your doctor prescribes, they can greatly help a person who is suffering from a lot of pain, be it mental or physical. However, like all things, prescription drugs must be used correctly and in moderation. It is the misuse of such medication that leads to potentially fatal consequences. Awareness is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Spread the word and educate those closest to you, especially young children. Prescription drugs are intended to improve life, not end it.