Poll: One in 10 Americans have taken shared prescription medications

A new Reuters poll has highlighted the prevalence of individuals misusing others' prescription medications. The news source found that one tenth of Americans have taken a prescription drug that had not been prescribed to them. A quarter of those people used the medication just to get high. The poll also showed that 60 percent of prescription sharers did so for pain relief, while 20 percent took them to sleep or to manage stress and anxiety.

The results of this poll reflect those of one conducted in the United Kingdom in 2010. The Lloyds pharmacy chain found that 14 percent of their customers admitted to sharing prescription drugs with another person. 

"The sharing of drugs in this way is inherently dangerous because neither the patient who was first prescribed the medication nor the person now taking them will understand the drug or its side effects, or its possible interaction with other drugs you may be taking," said Dr. Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, in reaction to the Lloyds study. "Those taking them are putting themselves at risk of harm or even death."

The Reuters analysis also indicated that it is not difficult for most people to obtain unauthorized prescription drugs. The vast majority of those polled received the medication from a friend or family member. Only 14 percent purchased the drugs or took them without permission. 

Fighting prescription drug abuse begins in the home. If your family member is struggling with addiction, now is the time to seek help. Contact Intervention Services today to learn about the types of interventions that could help your loved one. 

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Intervention ServicesPoll: One in 10 Americans have taken shared prescription medications