Proper Prescriptions

The use of drug therapy, or prescribing patients medicine, is a perfectly acceptable and highly effective means of properly treating many medical disorders. There has been a lot of talk in the news and around the community here in Hudson and the rest of the Tampa Bay area about a local prescription drug epidemic. Since this epidemic is a very serious issue, we realize that some people might have questions about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to prescription drugs.

What Is Right

If you seek medical care from a licensed doctor or medical facility, you will be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Medical staff will ask you about your symptoms and likely run some diagnostic tests to help determine what is bothering you. In many cases, prescription drugs will be prescribed to help your body repair itself. Other times, prescription drugs might be prescribed to help you overcome pain that is associated with a medical condition or is a result of an accident or a surgical procedure. These pain killers can help you during the recovery process and alleviate bodily pain. If you are prescribed medication by a doctor, then it is perfectly acceptable to take the medication. You must follow your doctor’s instructions and adhere to the medication schedule. Do not take any of the pills after your prescription schedule ends, even if you have some left over.

What Is Wrong

Sometimes people choose to obtain and take prescription medications, especially narcotics and other varieties that are intended to treat pain, when they do not have a prescription. Usually these people take the prescription drugs for recreational use. This is not only inappropriate; it is illegal. You can only take a prescription drug after having been instructed to by a medical professional. You cannot share prescriptions with friends or family, even if they seem to be exhibiting symptoms that you think the pills could help. If someone in your life is legitimately ill, he or she must seek medical attention from a doctor.

What Can I Do to Help?

  • Ask questions- Make sure that you understand what you need to do when you are prescribed drugs by talking to your doctor. Ask these questions:
    • What type of medication are you prescribing, and what is it used for?
    • What side effects could this medication cause?
    • When should I stop taking the medication?
    • If it is safe to take the prescribed medication along with my other medications, vitamins, and supplements?
  • Dispose of old medications properly- Sometimes pain killers fall into the wrong hands when they are taken out of the medicine cabinet of someone who was legitimately prescribed the drug. Once you have followed your doctor’s instructions, you might have some leftover pills. There is no need to keep them around; follow the advice of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and dispose of them properly.
    • Do not flush old pills down toilets or drains.
    • Ideally you can locate a drug take-back program that allows people to turn in old prescription medications. You can search online or ask your pharmacist about local options. If you cannot find one, then follow the instructions below.
      • Remove the pills from their original container.
      • Mix them with something that will help people lose interest in them, like used coffee grounds or cat litter.
      • Put the pill mixture into a covered container like an empty condiment bottle or a sealable plastic bag.
      • Either peel the label off of the original pill container or blot out your personal information with a black marker.
      • Throw the pill mixture in its sealed container and the altered pill container into the garbage can.

No one should be nervous about taking pills that were prescribed by a doctor. However everyone should do their part to ensure that prescription pills do not fall into the hands of drug users, children or anyone that they were not prescribed to. If you would like more information on helping to prevent prescription drug abuse, you can contact a local organization such as the Pasco County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention. If you have questions about your prescriptions, contact your doctor or Consult-A-Nurse® by calling 1-888-741-5119 and ask basic medical questions or request to be referred to a physician near you.


Office of National Drug Control Policy



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