Not when it is misused or abused. Many people think that abusing prescription drugs is safer than abusing illicit/street drugs, but they can be JUST as dangerous. The fact of the matter is, there are a number of things that are required to make a drug as “safe” as it can be. These safety measures include making sure physicians know about all your medical history and prescription activities when you acquire the prescription medication, and taking it as directed for the purposes that the physician intended.
Prescription drugs can have powerful effects both emotionally and physically within body. This is true of many prescriptions. Combinations of drugs can change the way these drugs are processed. Adding alcohol can further devastate the intended purpose of the medications.
These dangers are why there are laws against sharing prescriptions with others, no matter the good intention.
The Indiana Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force is working on increasing access to disposal locations. There are several events held on a yearly or monthly basis, as well as multiple sites where you can return your prescription drugs year-round. You can find a location near you on our Medicine Disposal page.
The Indiana Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force is developing a pilot program that will help pharmacies navigate and streamline the highly regulated process of medicine disposal. Until then, many counties allow disposal at law enforcement sites and other locations. Learn more about this and other disposal options on our Medicine Disposal & Safe Storage page.
Any drug has the potential to be misused or abused. The three most common are:
All of these drugs have a powerful effect on the brain, and when abused, can cause serious damage and even death. Learn more about prescription drug abuse on our Signs & Symptoms page.
Painkillers, or opioids, are powerful medications used to relieve pain. They have a purpose, but also have addictive properties and should be used only as directed and with that consideration in mind. These medications can include, for example, Vicodin®, Percocet®, and morphine. These medications reduce the perception of pain. They can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion and slow breathing. Taking too much, too fast or in conjunction with the wrong thing can have serious consequences, dramatically slowing your breathing, and potentially causing death. Learn more about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs on our Signs & Symptoms page.
A controlled substance is any drug or chemical that can be regulated by the government. This can include both illegal and prescription drugs. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted by the Congress of the United States in 1970. Not every drug is federally regulated — some are regulated by state governments.
Addiction or abuse should only be treated by a health care professional. If someone you know is struggling with prescription drug abuse or addiction, refer them to treatment. Learn more about treatment options and locations at our Get Help Now page.
Prescription drug abuse does not discriminate against age, race, gender or income. Anyone can be at risk. Learn more about the epidemic here.
The Indiana Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force is working on many ways to improve the data available on Hoosier deaths. There are also other offices throughout the state working to help collect and learn from this data.
“When a cause of death is determined as stated on a death certificate, what is listed on the document is the “Primary” cause of the decedent’s death. Due to the complexity of the cases, all elements of the autopsy and toxicology findings are examined. Substances, including prescription drugs, are often found to be contributory factors in a person’s death. The levels of the substances in the system are reviewed and only if found in significant amounts will they be listed on a public document as the “Primary” cause of death. We know that when drugs are abused and taken inappropriately, that there are behavioral and unintentional consequences. In fact, there is ongoing research being done here at the Coroner’s office to look at the various substances that are present in a decedent’s toxicology screen in cases of suicide. We collect this information to study what role that these drugs might have played in that person’s death as they often can impair a person’s decisions and behaviors. – Marion County Chief Deputy Coroner Alfarena Ballew