Drug abuse and addiction is a social problem and affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. Abuse of most drugs will produce noticeable physical or behavioural signs and symptoms, most likely both. Prescription drug abuse means taking medication intentionally without a prescription.
Many people use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, especially young people are strongly represented in this group. Mood changing drugs are highly abused by this group. Depressants, opioids and morphine derivatives, stimulants and antidepressants are most common groups of drugs that are highly abused. These drugs can lead to a variety of adverse effects on body, mind and can eventually kill due to overdose.
There are many reasons why do people abuse prescription drugs.
* They think prescription drugs are less dangerous drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor. This is obviously a wrong perception.
* Getting prescription drugs are easier than getting illegal drugs.
* Teenagers do not understand the risks of prescription drugs.
Patient: Patients must ensure for their own benefit that they use prescription medications appropriately. They should always follow the prescribed directions and aware of potential interactions with other drugs. If any patient wants to change a dosing regimen or stop taking medications, s/he should discuss with the physicians. In addition, unused or expired medications should be properly discarded.
Physicians: Physicians are in a unique position to identify abuse of prescription drugs. Screening of prescription drug abuse can be incorporated into routine medical visits as well as notify the rapid increases in the amount of medication needed or frequent, unscheduled refill requests.
Pharmacists: Pharmacists dispense medications and they can serve as the first line of defense in recognising prescription drug abuse. Each pharmacy in the region can contact to each other through a hotline to alert themselves.
Dispensing pharmacists should ensure that drugs are refilled successfully and current prescription would not be again refilled from any pharmacy without legal permission of doctors. It would be easy to detect the person who is refilling prescriptions from multiple sources.
It is true that abuse of prescription drugs can be riskier than the abuse of illegally manufactured drugs.
The write-up is compiled by Amit Sarker, Lecturer, Dept. of Pharmacy, Primeasia University, Dhaka.