Creating awareness about medicine abuse


Uday Deb

Every year, October is designated as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to acknowledge the risks associated with abusing prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The main objective of observing this month is to inform parents and children about the negative consequences of abusing medicines. Prescription drugs are the second most abused category of drugs in the United States after marijuana, with one out of every five young adults admitting to abusing a prescription drug. The national campaign, sponsored by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA ) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), aims to educate parents and youth about the perils of prescription and OTC medication abuse.

The reasons why people misuse or abuse prescription and over-the-counter medication vary. In most cases, easy access to these medications topped the list of reasons. Misinformation about how addictive opioid prescriptions are and the idea that prescription drugs are safer and less hazardous or addictive than illicit drugs are other contributing factors. Long-term stress has an impact on all elements of a person’s life, including their emotions, actions, thoughts, and, of course, their physical health. In an effort to alleviate or lessen the severity of symptoms including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and pain, people tend to misuse the prescription.

Let’s take a quick look at the elements that can help in the prevention of prescription abuse:

  • Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)

State-run electronic databases that track the prescriptions and distribution of governed prescription drugs to patients are useful tools for preventing and identifying prescription drug misuse.

Patients can take measures to ensure that they use prescription medications correctly by following the instructions on the label or provided by the physician. Furthermore, being conscious of possible drug interactions and never discontinuing or changing a dosing regimen without first consulting with the doctor are a few key steps patients can take on their behalf in order to prevent medicine abuse.

Pharmacists can assist patients in understanding how to take their medications as well as how the meds work for their ailment. Furthermore, by keeping an eye out for prescription falsifications, pharmacists can serve as the first line of defence in identifying problematic patterns in prescription drug usages . When a deceitful prescription is discovered, some pharmacies for instance can set up hotlines to notify other pharmacies in the area. Pharmacists, in collaboration with physicians, can also use PDMPs to track opioid prescribing and dispensing patterns in patients.

  • Alternative form of medicine

Ayurveda is an ancient science that has stores of herbal, mineral, or herbomineral medicines for disease prevention and cure, including medicine addiction and withdrawal. Ayurveda, a natural system of medicine, originated in India more than 3,000 years ago, is considered a step towards a healthier lifestyle. This alternative form of medicine has always claimed to be far more effective in the longer course of life and has no side effects to the human body.

One of the factors that contribute to medication abuse is the ease with which one can self-medicate. Self-medication has the potential to cause serious health issues such as incorrect therapy selection, reliance, and misuse. According to various studies, the global prevalence rate of self-medication ranges from 11.2% to 93.7%, depending on the target population and country. The pandemic has also had a negative impact on public health by encouraging Indians to use self-medication and Google their symptoms more frequently. Although self- medication will always be prevalent, taking steps to provide medicines with minimal to no health risks, such as cannabis-based medicines, and implementing the measures outlined above can certainly help in overcoming the medicine abuse problem.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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