ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives are very useful treatment tools, but sometimes people do not take them as directed and may become addicted. Pain relievers make surgery possible, and enable many individuals with chronic pain to lead productive lives. Most people who take prescription medications use them responsibly. However, the inappropriate or non-medical use of prescription medications is a serious public health concern. Non-medical use of prescription medications like opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants can lead to addiction, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.
While many prescription medications can be abused or misused, these three classes are most commonly abused:
- Opioids - often prescribed to treat pain.
- CNS Depressants - used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Stimulants - prescribed to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG RESOURCES
ABOUT STREET DRUGS
Drug use/abuse has a wide range of definitions, all of them relating either to the misuse or overuse of a psychoactive drug or performance enhancing drug for a non-therapeutic or non-medical effect, or any use of illegal drugs in the absence of a required, license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Some of the most commonly abused drugs include alcohol, methamphetamines, barbiturates, caffeine, marijuana, cocaine, nicotine, opioids, and minor tranquilizers. Use of these drugs may lead to criminal penalty in addition to possible physical, social and psychological harm.
STREET DRUG RESOURCES
Congress defined the term "dietary supplement" in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders. They can also be in other forms, such as a bar, but if they are, information on their label must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet. Whatever their form may be, DSHEA places dietary supplements in a special category under the general umbrella of "foods," not drugs, and requires that every supplement be labeled a dietary supplement.
ABOUT OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION
When people are ill, often times they are able to seek relief from medications available at their local pharmacy without having to visit a physician for prescription medicine. Typically, the conditions are minor and not life threatening. People use nonprescription, or over-the-counter (OTC), drugs to treat less serious conditions that are either transient (will pass relatively quickly), such as the common cold, or chronic (lasting for a long time or recurring frequently), such as allergies.
There are over 100 thousand different OTC drugs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies these drugs in over eighty categories such as allergy and cough/cold medications, pain relievers, aids for digestive problems, stimulants, sleep aids, and antibacterial drugs. There are also herbal remedies, which are not regulated by the FDA and which may or may not be effective at treating ailments.
Even though a drug is OTC rather than prescription, it can still have side effects. In fact, many OTC drugs have drug interactions with prescriptions and other OTC drugs. Interactions usually cause one of the drugs to work less effectively, but they can also have dangerous, even deadly, results. In fact, there are many OTC drugs that can aggravate certain medical conditions. In this and similar cases, that particular OTC drug should be avoided altogether. Furthermore, due to certain ingredients or for other reasons, many OTC drugs should be used only by adults and older children (generally over the age of twelve), unless it is a formula made especially for younger children. This is why the use of OTC drugs requires a careful reading of a drug's label and instructions so that a consumer will have a full understanding of the drug and its proper uses. If a person doesn't understand something on the package label, a pharmacist can usually help.
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