Prescription Opioid Drugs
Prescription opioid drugs have contributed to advances in the treatment of acute pain when used appropriately. However, opioid prescription drugs can pose serious risks and side effects including increased risks of opioid use disorder, overdoses, and death.
Non-Medical Prescription Drug Use
Non-medical prescription drug use is the use of a prescription drug for anything other than the drug's intended purpose. Some examples of non-medical prescription drug use are:
- Taking a friend's prescription pill when you yourself have not be prescribed the medication
- Taking your own prescription, but taking dosage differently than prescribed
- Taking a prescription just as previously prescribed, but it was obtained from an illicit market rather than a licensed pharmacy
- Taking your own prescription "leftovers" from a prior prescription when they are no longer medically needed.
Why Non-Medical Prescription Drug Use?
Individuals receive non-medical prescription drugs from various sources, most commonly from friends and family. Other common sources include purchasing from a friend/relative, drug dealer, or on the Internet using a physician's prescription.
In 2011 the CDC declared an opioid epidemic in relation to dramatic increases in the misuse of prescription opioids. Since then the illicit drug market has also changed drastically with alarming rates of counterfeit prescription pills laced with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have been found in a wide variety of non-opioid drugs on the illicit market across the country - these are largely responsible for the majority of overdose related deaths in the United States. Drugs from any source other than a licenced pharmacy or licenced clinic are at risk for being laced.
The relatively low cost, perceived safety, ease of access, and anticipated positive effects contribute to reasons students use non-medical prescription opioid drugs.
Below Is a List of Other Common Reasons for Misuse
- To party or experiment
- Alleviate temporary symptoms of physical pain, anxiety, panic attacks or depression
- Means to relax
- Counteract effects of other drugs (e.g. stimulants) and/or to counteract withdrawal symptoms (hallucinations, stomach a muscle cramping, tremor, and intense pain)
- Treat longer-term insomnia or alleviate worsening symptoms of underlying mental health symptoms