Teens nationwide are targeted with various drugs, and most are not aware of the consequences. National Drug Facts Week, Oct. 31-Nov. 6, is an opportunity to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse.
Although there are a variety of illegal drugs teens have experimented with, there has also been a rise in prescription drug abuse. A common question from teenagers is, “How can prescription drugs be harmful when they’re prescribed by doctors?”
“Prescription drugs can be safe when they are taken by the patient whom they are prescribed for,” says Lisa Killam-Worrall, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice and director of the Drug Information Center at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “Danger incurs when people decide to take someone else’s medication without knowing what it is, the dosage amount or the side effects associated with it.”
It is also all too common that teenagers mix pills with other drugs or with alcohol, thereby increasing the risk of death from accidental overdose.
There are several dangers in taking a prescribed drug that is not yours and in mixing pills, according to Dr. Killam-Worrall. The most common are drowsiness, impaired ability to drive and panic attacks.
Remember, it’s only safe to use prescription medications when prescribed for you by a doctor for a current problem. If at any time you are unsure of a prescription you are taking, ask your pharmacist for more information.