The abuse of prescription and illicit drugs like fentanyl and heroin has fueled the opioid crisis in America.
No states are exempt from this epidemic, including Pennsylvania. The two most commonly prescribed opioids in Pennsylvania in 2017 were oxycodone and hydrocodone. Pharmacies filled more than 2.4 million prescriptions for oxycodone products and 1.6 million prescriptions for hydrocodone products. The total number of medications dispensed in that year is approximately 32 dosage units per Pennsylvanian.1 Prescription pill addiction can occur quickly if these medications are misused or abused. Our drug rehab center in Philadelphia is sharing how to avoid prescription drug addiction.
Tips on How to Avoid Prescription Drug Addiction
As a patient, there are several prescription drug abuse prevention strategies you can utilize. It’s important to be careful when taking prescription medications like opioids or benzodiazepines. Addiction doesn’t happen in a day but is rather a disease that progresses over time. Below are several ways you can avoid prescription drug addiction.
Ask Your Doctor About Possible Interactions
The best way to understand how prescription drug abuse can be prevented is by talking to your doctor. When you’re prescribed a new medication, ask about any possible side effects and drug interactions you should avoid. People who abuse prescription drugs often mix them for their side effects. While you may begin doing this accidentally, it can cause negative physical reactions and increase your likelihood of addiction. Asking your doctor about which drug interactions you should steer clear of can prevent any physical repercussions in the long run.
Take Medication Appropriately
Another important thing to remember when you’re taking prescription medications is to always take them according to your prescription and as directed to by your doctor. For example, if your doctor directs you to only take two pills per day, do not exceed this amount. Taking more than the prescribed dose can cause addiction as well as other physical problems like organ damage or even overdose.
If you find yourself or someone else misusing prescription drugs, it’s time to get help. Medications like opioids and benzodiazepines are highly addictive and therefore difficult to quit. At Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia, we offer several detox programs, including two for opioid and prescription pill addiction. These programs help patients safely stop taking drugs and begin their physical recovery from addiction.
Don’t Stop or Alter Dosing Regimen Unless Directed by Your Doctor
Similar to how you shouldn’t take a higher dose than prescribed, you should also avoid changing how frequently you take your medications. If your doctor advises you to take one pill in the morning and one at night, then follow this regimen. The doses for prescription medications are often split throughout the day to prevent adverse side effects. Taking too many of these medications in one shot can cause unsightly reactions. Repeatedly doing this can also create addictive habits or behaviors.
Do Not Take Other People’s Pills
This occurs often in families and friend groups. Regardless of the situation, do not ever take someone else’s medication. When doctors prescribe drugs, they do so after assessing the individual’s health and any existing ailments. Even if you’ve taken the same medication before, your body may not react to it as it once did. This kind of behavior also leaves out proper monitoring from a doctor, which increases your risk of overdosing and developing an addiction.
Prescription drug abuse is just as dangerous as abusing illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin. These drugs change the chemical balance in your brain and affect how it communicates with the rest of your body. Long-term drug abuse can also cause problems in your relationships, job, and finances. At Banyan Philadelphia, we also offer prescription drug addiction treatment to help individuals who have become dependent on their medications renew their sobriety.
How To Keep Others Safe
Knowing how to prevent prescription drug abuse in others and keep your loved ones safe is also important. Below are some additional tips to help others avoid prescription drug abuse.
Do Not Give Your Medication to Someone Else
Even if another person has taken the exact medication and dose before, their body may not react the same as it once did. You may also be encouraging their addiction without realizing it. Many people with prescription drug addictions ask their loved ones for their pills or even steal them out of desperation. The best thing you can do is avoid sharing your medications.
Keep Track of Your Medications
Keeping old medications in your cabinets increases the likelihood that someone who shouldn’t be taking them will find them. Keeping them is also a temptation to take them when you don’t have other prescription drugs on hand. Whenever you visit the doctor or are prescribed new drugs, look through your medicine cabinet, safely dispose of the ones you don’t need, and organize the ones you do need
Store Medications in a Secure Spot
Keep medications away from children or anyone else who isn't supposed to take them. Children often get their hands on pills that are stored where they’re most accessible. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean small children will begin secretly taking these pills, this is an extra precaution to avoid accidental overdose and intoxication in children. Storing your prescription drugs in places only you have access to can also prevent someone else who is struggling with addiction from finding them.
Many people make the mistake of believing prescription pills are harmless, but this isn’t true. If you or a loved one is taking prescription medications, be sure to follow the precautionary tips above to avoid dependence and overdose.
If you’re looking for drug or alcohol addiction treatment for yourself or someone else, call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our Philadelphia substance abuse programs.