In order to defend yourself against prescription drug abuse, you need an Rx Game Plan. This game plan includes steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from this epidemic that kills more Hoosiers than motor vehicle accidents. To tackle this problem:
• Block Misuse—Know the Signs & Symptoms
• Get the Play-by-Play—Talk to Your Doctor
• Turnover Unused or Expired Meds—Find a Take Back Location
1) Block Misuse—Know the Signs & Symptoms of Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than prescribed, or for the experience or feeling it gives you. Abuse can lead to addiction. There are signs and symptoms of abuse that can help you determine whether prescription drug abuse is occurring.
Look for these Red Flags:
• Taking more than prescribed
• “Craving” just one more pill/ refill
• Running out of prescriptions too soon
• Continuously “losing” prescriptions and requesting replacements
• Mixing pills and alcohol
• Seeking prescriptions for more than one injury or with multiple doctors
• Abnormal behaviors, hostility, withdrawal, or sudden personality changes
• Sleep pattern changes
• Poor decision making
• Secrecy or defiance
• Stealing, forging, or selling prescriptions
2) Get the Play-by-Play—Talk to Your Doctor
Treating pain requires a team—you and your doctor. It’s important to understand what your pain is and how it’s being treated. Talking with your doctor is the most effective way to make sure your pain is being treated in a safe way.
What are you tackling?
Acute Pain or Chronic Pain?
Get the Play-by-Play on how to talk to your doctor about your pain treatment plan.
Play 1: Talk to your doctor about:
• Alternative pain treatment options
• Potential addictive qualities of the drugs that are prescribed
• Directions for taking the prescriptions drugs (how many, how often)
Play 2: Set Goals:
• Talk to your doctor about what you want to achieve through pain treatment—do you want to be able to go to work? Play with your kids? Take walks around the neighborhood? Understand that prescription drugs are not designed to eradicate pain. Talking to your doctor can help you determine what level of comfort you need to reach the level of function you want.
• Talk to your doctor about how long you will be taking prescription drugs. This may be determined by the kind of pain you are tackling—acute or chronic. It’s important for you to have a timeline and an understanding of how long you might be on a medication.
• Ask your doctor about signing a Treatment Agreement so you can hold yourself accountable. Sample Agreement
Play 3: Ask Questions
• How long will I be taking this medication? How often and how much?
• What is this medication supposed to do? (If you don’t understand the answer, ask more questions until you do understand what that medication does in the body.)
• What are some of the potential side effects of this medication?
• What should do if I have a negative experience with this medication? What are some of the alternatives if this medication isn’t a good fit for me?
3) Turnover Expired or Unused Meds—Find a Take Back Location
Keeping expired or unused medications in your home puts you and your loved ones at risk for misuse, accidental poisoning, or overdose. You could even have your house broken into, if addicts are seeking more prescription drugs. But disposing of these drugs improperly (such as flushing down the toilet) is dangerous for the environment.
• Take your medication to a permanent Take Back location. A complete list is available on our Medical Disposal page.
• Take your medication to one of the DEA’s Take Back events. Find a date and location on the DEA Website.
• If either of these options aren’t possible, then follow the instructions for Safe Household Disposal.