Everyone, doctors, patients, family and friends, has a role to play in preventing prescription drug abuse. Before we look at how to help your family and community, here are some steps you can take to keep yourself from getting addicted:

  • Make Sure You Have The Right Medication – If your doctor is prescribing you a drug you know is addictive, make sure they understand all of your symptoms so you know you’re on the same page and they’ve made the correct recommendation.

If your partner or roommate also takes prescription drugs, doctors recommend keeping them on different shelves in the medicine cabinet, to reduce the risk of taking the wrong drug by accident.

  • Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions – If you find yourself needing to take more of a medication to relieve your symptoms, it could be a warning sign of addiction. If this happens, maintain your prescribed dosage, and talk to your doctor as soon as possible to see what they can do to help.
  • Don’t Take Another Person’s Prescription – The medication may look similar, but it might not be right for your particular illness or condition. Even if you’re sure it’s the right medication because you already have a prescription, needing to get the drug from other sources to increase your dosage may mean you are addicted.

Keeping Your Friends And Family Safe

If you’re concerned that one of your friends or family members may be addicted to prescription drugs, there are some steps you can take to help.=

  • Know The Warning Signs – The most obvious warning sign is someone acting as if they’re high all the time, but drugs can affect people’s personalities in many ways. If the person is taking stimulants, they may appear unusually energetic. Personality changes are also a warning sign. If a person suddenly starts getting aggressive, or making paranoid accusations, they may be addicted to drugs. Stealing, irresponsibility and withdrawing from social interactions are also major red flags.
  • Keep An Eye On Your Own Prescriptions – If you’re taking prescription drugs yourself, it’s important to be responsible for those drugs and make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Keep your drugs somewhere where you won’t forget about them, such as a medicine cabinet you open every morning. If you’re finished taking your drugs and you have some left over, dispose of any excess according to the instructions.
  • Talk To Your Kids – Many teenagers abuse prescription drugs because they are perceived as safe. Vicodin and heroin are very similar chemicals with similar effects, but the first one sounds safe because it’s something you get from your doctor. Talk to your kids about the dangers of prescription drugs. Make sure they know that the only safe drug is one prescribed by a doctor.