Medical prescription refers to a health care plan that a medical practitioner issues to the patient in form of instructions that describe the quantity, duration, and type of medical drugs to be taken by the patient. Basically, prescriptions refer to directions to take certain medications. Medical prescriptions should be adhered to strictly in order to improve the effectiveness of the drugs. Prescription abuse or overdose refers to a situation whereby the patient fails to adhere to the prescriptions in terms of overdose, underdoes, or failure to observe the medical prescription completely. Even though most patients percept medication seriously, there is a notable increase in the non-medical use of drugs (Jeremy, 2000).
Rod (1995) reports that abuse of prescription drugs has increased significantly in the United States over the last ten years and the trends are worrying. The abuse of prescription drugs can now be compared to the abuse of non- prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs can be viewed from the following perspectives: dose, the context of the use of the drugs, use of the drugs when under other medication programs and the expectations of the drug use (Jeremy, 2000). The most commonly abused prescription drugs include: Opioids, which are primarily meant for pain treatment; central nervous system depressants which are used to treat sleeping disorders and anxiety; and stimulants.
The abuse of prescription drugs can be attributed to the fact majority of the people who overdose or abuse prescription drugs is mostly due to misinterpretation of information or lack of information about the drugs. Patients usually take drugs thinking it would solve a particular problem like checking weight, bodybuilding and so on; the outcome is increased addiction to the prescription drug. Another factor that accelerates prescription drug abuse is the extent to which the prescription drugs are available ( Rod, 1995). Getting prescription drugs is not a hassle they usually land in the wrong hands through means such as forged prescriptions, shopping more than once for the same prescription, through illegal online pharmacies, sale of drugs by unscrupulous physicians and pharmacists, and using prescriptions from one family and friends. Government reports indicate that majority of online stores that sell prescription drugs have no legal formalities in participating in such business, many drug buyers that purchase the drugs off the shelf do not present any identification or doctor’s prescriptions (Jeremy, 2000).
Some of the commonest symptoms associated with prescription drug abuse include: constant alterations in the mood of the patient, increased confusion levels, excessive sleep or lack of sleep totally, increased level of alertness, and changes in the general physical appearances. Compared to the numerous illicit drugs, misuse of prescription drugs has its own side effects and toxicity due to these prescription drugs is a common phenomenon among people. Most of this toxicity is due to an overdose of the drugs, which can be easily dealt with; the problem is primarily with management. The majority of those who abuse prescription drugs always deny using them. The prescription drug problem in the majority of the addicts is not always visible, therefore posing a problem towards managing and controlling the abuse of prescription drugs. Although the majority of those addicted to prescription drugs always reveal having social problems, losing interest in their health and school, and increased isolation from family and friends.
The significant issue in offering treatment to prescription drug addiction is that it is a hidden disorder that cannot reveal itself because no one comes clean about their usage of prescription drugs. The problem is not usually recognized and therefore administering treatment is a challenge. The only approach to help addicts is through the use of rehabilitation centers and detoxification substitutes, counseling, and behavior management (Rod, 1995).
In order to control prescription drug fraud, the government must pass legislative policies and regulations that focus on offering prosecution to physicians, doctors and pharmacists who sell these drugs without proper legal formalities. This can be achieved through: keeping the pharmacists in check to ensure they record all prescriptions, keeping constant check of all patients who need prescription drugs and keeping record of all prescription drugs that are sold over the internet (Jeremy, 2000).
Jeremy, R. (2000). Prescription Drug Abuse. London: The Rosen Publishing Group
Rod, C. (1995) Prescription drug abuse: the hidden epidemic: a guide to coping and understanding. New York: Addicus Books.