On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

A survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that 15 million people aged 12 and older used prescription drugs non-medically in 2014. Unfortunately, the misuse of prescription drugs has become a national epidemic.

Taking an old painkiller to relieve a headache or borrowing a friend’s medication might not seem like a big deal, but these simple acts are dangerous and considered abuse. Misuse of prescribed medication can have harmful ramifications, including negative reactions, overdose and death.

What is prescription drug abuse?

Not all drug abuse looks the same. Actions that seem harmless, such as borrowing a prescription drug from a friend or taking an extra dosage to increase desired results, are still considered drug abuse. Each method of abuse is dangerous and can cause unintended side effects, including overdose.

Taking any medication to get high

The non-medical use of prescription drugs is highest among young adults aged 18 to 25, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Some take medications to get high or use stimulants to help focus on academic tasks.

Taking a medication not prescribed to you

Taking any medication not prescribed to you can harm your body or have a dangerous reaction with medications you’re currently taking.

Taking medication in any way that is not directed

This includes taking more than the recommended dosage or using medication to treat a condition other than the one for which it was intended.

Take Back Day

This Saturday, April 28, marks the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Drug Enforcement Administration created Take Back Day to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medication. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over nine million pounds of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.

How can I participate in Take Back Day?

The DEA makes it easy to participate. By entering your zip code here, you can find all participating locations near you to drop off old medications. There are more than 5,300 collection sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 through state and local law enforcement partners.

Don't forget — as you go through your prescriptions, make sure you're properly storing the ones you do keep.

It’s important to speak to your loved ones about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and to know of preexisting conditions or family history that may make you susceptible to prescription drug abuse. Even though it might seem difficult, openly discuss the side effects and addiction risks of any medication you are taking with your physician and seek professional help if you think you may be struggling with addiction.

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