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Questions and Answers

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Prescription



These PSAs are meant to encourage participation in DEA's Take Back Day and to educate viewers about the importance of disposing of any unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications in your house.




Prescription



Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That's dangerous and often tragic. That's why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in - safely and anonymously - a record amount of prescription drugs.


Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain, though some opioids can be used to treat coughing and diarrhea. Opioids can also make people feel very relaxed and "high" - which is why they are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common. Heroin is one of the world's most dangerous opioids, and is never used as a medicine in the United States.


When misusing a prescription opioid, a person can swallow the medicine in its normal form. Sometimes people crush pills or open capsules, dissolve the powder in water, and inject the liquid into a vein. Some also snort the powder.


Older adults are at higher risk of accidental misuse or abuse because they typically have multiple prescriptions and chronic diseases, increasing the risk of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, as well as a slowed metabolism that affects the breakdown of drugs. Sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and from unprotected sex.


Prescription opioids and heroin are chemically similar and can produce a similar high. In some places, heroin is cheaper and easier to get than prescription opioids, so some people switch to using heroin instead. Data from 2011 showed that an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids switch to heroin1,2,3 and about 80 percent of people who used heroin first misused prescription opioids.1,2,3 More recent data suggest that heroin is frequently the first opioid people use. In a study of those entering treatment for opioid use disorder, approximately one-third reported heroin as the first opioid they used regularly to get high.4


If a woman uses prescription opioids when she's pregnant, the baby could develop dependence and have withdrawal symptoms after birth. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, which can be treated with medicines. Use during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage and low birth weight. Read more in the Substance Use in Women Research Report.


Long-term use of prescription opioids, even as prescribed by a doctor, can cause some people to develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects.


Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and long-lasting changes in the brain. The changes can result in harmful behaviors by those who misuse drugs, whether prescription or illicit drugs.


Yes, a person can overdose on prescription opioids. An opioid overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. When people overdose on an opioid medication, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, which can result in coma, permanent brain damage, or death.


Some states have passed laws that allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a personal prescription. Friends, family, and others in the community can use the nasal spray versions of naloxone to save someone who is overdosing.


Yes, repeated misuse of prescription opioids can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD), a medical illness which ranges from mild to severe and from temporary to chronic. Addiction is the most severe form of an SUD. An SUD develops when continued misuse of the drug changes the brain and causes health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.


Medications for opioid use disorders are safe, effective, and save lives. These medicines interact with the same opioid receptors in the brain on which other prescription opioids act. However, depending on the prescription drug(s) an individual develops an addiction to, these medicines taken as prescribed may not produce the same effects as other prescription opioids do when they are misused.


Behavioral therapies for addiction to prescription opioids help people modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use, increase healthy life skills, and persist with other forms of treatment, such as medication. Some examples include, cognitive behavioral therapy which helps modify the patient's drug use expectations and behaviors, and also effectively manage triggers and stress. Multidimensional family therapy, developed for adolescents with drug use problems, addresses a range of personal and family influences on one's drug use patterns and is designed to improve overall functioning. These behavioral treatment approaches have proven effective, especially when used along with medicines. Read more about drug addiction treatment on the Treatment webpage.


Some people take prescription stimulants to try to improve mental performance. Teens and college students sometimes misuse them to try to get better grades, and older adults misuse them to try to improve their memory. Taking prescription stimulants for reasons other than treating ADHD or narcolepsy could lead to harmful health effects, such as addiction, heart problems, or psychosis.


When misusing a prescription stimulant, people can swallow the medicine in its normal form. Alternatively, they can crush tablets or open the capsules, dissolve the powder in water, and inject the liquid into a vein. Some can also snort or smoke the powder.


Repeated misuse of prescription stimulants, even within a short period, can cause psychosis, anger, or paranoia. If the drug is injected, it is important to note that sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug misuse can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.


Some people may be concerned about later substance misuse in children and teens who've been prescribed stimulant drugs to treat ADHD. Studies so far have not shown a difference in later substance use in young people with ADHD treated with prescription stimulants compared with those who didn't receive such treatment. This suggests that treatment with ADHD medication does not positively or negatively affect a person's risk of developing problem use.


Yes, a person can overdose on prescription stimulants. An overdose occurs when the person uses enough of the drug to produce a life-threatening reaction or death (read more on our Intentional vs. Unintentional Overdose Deaths webpage).


When people overdose on a prescription stimulant, they most commonly experience several different symptoms, including restlessness, tremors, overactive reflexes, rapid breathing, confusion, aggression, hallucinations, panic states, abnormally increased fever, muscle pains and weakness.


Because prescription stimulant overdose often leads to a heart attack or seizure, the most important step to take is to call 911 so a person who has overdosed can receive immediate medical attention. First responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose with the intent of restoring blood flow to the heart and stopping the seizure with care or with medications if necessary.


Yes, misuse of prescription stimulants can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD), which takes the form of addiction in severe cases. Long-term use of stimulants, even as prescribed by a doctor, can cause a person to develop a tolerance, which means that he or she needs higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects. An SUD develops when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. Concerns about use should be discussed with a health care provider.


Behavioral therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management (motivational incentives), can be effective in helping to treat people with prescription stimulant addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps modify the patient's drug-use expectations and behaviors, and it can effectively manage triggers and stress. Contingency management provides vouchers or small cash rewards for positive behaviors such as staying drug-free. Read more about drug addiction treatment on the Treatment webpage.


The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (ORS 646A.689) directs the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to establish a transparency program to accept reports and disclose certain information from prescription drug manufacturers, health insurance carriers, and consumers on drug prices.


The goal of the program is to provide accountability for prescription drug pricing through the notice and disclosure of specific drug costs and price information from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health insurers, and consumers.


The Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) collects and monitors prescription data for all Schedule II, III, IV, and V Controlled Substances (CS) dispensed by a pharmacy in Texas or to a Texas resident from a pharmacy located in another state. The PMP also provides a database for monitoring patient prescription history for practitioners and the ordering of Texas Schedule II Official Prescription Forms. Click here for more information about the PMP. 041b061a72


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