Can I Overdose on a Drug Prescribed by a Doctor?

Can I Overdose on a Drug Prescribed by a Doctor?

People, including doctors and pharmacists, often underestimate the risk of overdose from prescription drugs. Perhaps this is because prescription drugs do not carry the same criminal stigma as illegal drugs or because users do not believe a doctor would prescribe anything dangerous. Any drug, whether is a prescription, over-the-counter or illegal substance has the potential to cause physical harm or overdose. This is why prescription and over-the-counter medications have instructions clearly written on their bottles. If not taken as directed, the medicine can be extremely hazardous to the user. Unfortunately many people still do not understand the seriousness of prescription drug abuse or overdose, and many people fall victim to accidental overdose fatalities each year.

Reasons Why People Overdose on Prescription Drugs

Almost all prescription drug overdose situations occur because of abuse. Drug abusive behavior is not limited to the extremes such as crushing pills and chasing them with vodka or injecting illegal substances. The act of prescription drug abuse can be as “minor” as not taking a medication at the scheduled time. Prescriptions are written for an individual’s safety. Not following the doctor or pharmacist’s exact orders can increase the risk of dependence, addiction and overdose. For example painkillers are highly addictive and put long-term users at increased risk. It may seem like taking your pills a few hours early or crushing them to work faster is harmless, the science proves otherwise.

I Think My Doctor or Pharmacist Made a Prescription Error

There are instances where individuals face an overdose or addiction due to a physician or pharmacist’s error. This is very rare, but it does happen. If any prescription drug is causing negative effects, a person should seek professional advice on how to best discontinue use. People can call another doctor or pharmacist to report their questions and concerns or even contact the board of pharmacy or board of medicine in their state to report a mistake. If a professional is suspected of unlawful prescription practices, individuals must report the physician to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prevent future cases of addiction or overdose.

Preventing Prescription Drug Overdose

The most effective way to prevent overdose from prescription drugs is to follow the doctor or pharmacists orders precisely. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Do not take larger doses than prescribed
  • Do not take more frequent doses than prescribed
  • Do not take the drug for longer than recommended
  • Do not use expired medication
  • Do not take prescription medication that is not yours
  • Do not take medication by unapproved methods such as crushing, snorting or injecting
  • Look for negative side effects and notify your doctor, if they occur
  • Do not mix prescription medication with other drugs or alcohol

I Think I Need Help for Prescription Drug Abuse or Addiction

If you are concerned that you or a loved one is at risk for prescription drug addiction or overdose, now is the time seek help. We are available to talk with you 24 hours a day and to help find a solution that best fits your recovery needs. We can answer questions about treatment and provide you with information about addiction, rehab and recovery. There is a specialized recovery solution that will work for you, so pick up the phone and call our toll-free helpline to learn more. Take the first step towards change today.