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Misuse & Abuse

Intentionally using medication without a prescription, using medication in a way other than prescribed, or recreationally experiencing the drug’s effects constitutes abuse. After marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs. Medications work best when you know how to use them properly. In fact, half of the nearly 3.4 billion prescriptions dispensed each year are taken improperly. When prescription drugs are not properly used or disposed of, they become an easy target for diversion – which leads to abuse, unintentional overdosing, and even death.  Consider the following facts about the diversion, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription
  • Prescription drugs can only be obtained through a health care provider’s prescription and are either controlled (potential for dependency or abuse) or non-controlled.
  • Prescription drugs should NEVER be shared with anyone- even family members.

Learn More

  • The Center for Disease Control’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) covers common questions and facts concerning prescription drug misuse and abuse.
  • Understanding where and how Virginia’s youth become impacted by drug abuse is key in prevention and helps guardians recognize the signs of addiction.  “A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse” offers insight into these issues, and focuses on the perspective of parents currently struggling to keep their children safe from this dangerous epidemic.