Hidden Dangers of Prescription Drug Misuse

“It starts in the medicine cabinet,” says Shauna Cooper, LRADAC Director of Prevention. Cooper is referring to prescription drug misuse and the development of substance use disorders due to that misuse.

Most people who are prescribed a prescription medication are able to use it as prescribed under the supervision of a medical provider. However, there are some cases where routine prescription drug use can turn into a substance misuse problem and in time, a substance use disorder can develop and be life-threatening.

Prescription Drug Misuse

The Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Misuse Statistics

A reported 18.7 million people reported misusing prescription drugs in the past year (2016). According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription drugs are the third most widely used drug in the nation.

Alarmingly, among South Carolina youth, 17.1% reported that they believed there was no risk or only a slight risk of harm from misusing prescription drugs (Communities That Care Survey, 2016).

So what does this mean? It means that there is a perception that using prescription medication is not harmful and many people feel more safe misusing prescription medication that other drugs. Additionally, prescription drugs are addictive so even those who are using medication as prescribed can be at risk of developing a substance use disorder.

Physical Affects of Prescription Drug Misuse

Using prescription medication in a way other than prescribed or simply for the feeling it gives the user is dangerous. Prescription drug misuse can cause:

  • Addiction, as many prescription drugs are highly addictive,
  • Slowed breathing, including accidental overdose,
  • Seizures,
  • Withdrawal symptoms,
  • High body temperatures,
  • Increased or decreased heart rate,
  • Irregular heartbeat,
  • When mixed with alcohol, can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting or loss of coordination.

Prescription Drug Misuse Resources

Learn more about the dangers of prescription drug misuse at https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/drugs/prescription-drugs.

LRADAC offers free training in Lexington and Richland Counties. If you would like us to come speak to your group about the dangers and trends of prescription drug use, please click here to book a speaker.

Addiction to any drug can be treated. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug misuse, please contact us at (803) 726-9300 or fill out this form (https://lradac.org/contact/) and we will contact you.

LRADAC is the designated alcohol abuse and drug abuse authority for Lexington and Richland Counties of South Carolina. The public, not-for-profit agency offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs in locations convenient to residents of both counties. The agency has a budget of approximately $10 million and serves more than 5,000 clients per year.