The dangers of your medicine cabinet habit

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, a campaign that highlights the growing problem of drug abuse and addiction — not street drugs, however, but the mounting problem of addiction to oft-prescribed medicines.

Look no further than your own medicine cabinet for the source of our nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, which the CDC classifies as an “epidemic.”

“A lot of medications are highly addictive,” says registered pharmacist Todd Brown, MHP, R.Ph., who is the vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. “That’s particularly true of the ones we use for pain. They’re structurally related to heroin and, like heroin, they’re addictive. They produce a euphoria and it’s a normal reaction for the brain to want to repeat that euphoria.”

Highly addictive medications are controlled substances and are labeled. “If it has that sticker that prohibits transfer” — i.e., it is illegal to give away or sell the medication — “it is an addictive drug,” says Brown.

How do we know if we are addicted? “If you are looking to take more than the prescribed amount, then it could be addiction,” he says. “Or, [if] the medications aren’t working. In that case, go back to your doctor. Do not just take more frequent or higher doses.”

If you suspect a friend or family member is abusing  medications, Brown says watch for behavioral changes and know that addicts are often unaware or in denial of their chemical dependence.

“If they’re moody, depressed or anxious, or if they’re looking for your medications, that’s a sign. Confronting them and suggesting they get professional help is one option. But if you can’t confront them, contact the prescriber and alert them of your suspicions. Then they can monitor. Another option is to go to your pharmacist and ask for their advice.”

Not just grown-ups

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which includes U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and supplements, are using National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to raise parental awareness about prescription and OTC medicine abuse by teens. “It’s now common teen behavior to go through the house, or through relative’s medicine cabinets, looking for medications,” says Brown. “Medications need to be in a secure place.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.