Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

14. How can I avoid misusing, abusing, or becoming addicted to prescription medications?

Here are steps you can take to prevent abuse of prescription medicines and its consequences:

  • When visiting the doctor or pharmacist, bring along all prescription and over-the-counter medicines that you take -- or a list of the medicines and their dosages (how much you take and how often). Your doctor can make sure your medicines are right for you and make changes if necessary.
  • Always follow medication directions carefully.
  • Only use the medication for its prescribed purpose.
  • Do not crush or break pills.
  • If you are not sure how to take a medicine correctly, ask your doctor or pharmacist. He or she can tell you how to take a medication properly and about its side effects and interactions with other medications.
  • Ask about the medication’s effects on driving and other daily activities.
  • Do not use other people's prescription medications, and do not share yours.
  • Talk with your doctor before increasing or decreasing the medication dosage.
  • Do not stop taking medication on your own. Talk to your doctor if you are having side effects or other problems with a medication.
  • Learn about the medicine’s possible interactions with alcohol and other prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid these interactions.
  • Answer honestly if a doctor or other health care professional asks you about drug or alcohol use. Without that information, your doctor may not be able to provide you with the best care. Also, if you have a substance problem, he or she can help you find the right treatment to prevent more serious problems from developing, including addiction.