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So How do you tell if your parent might have be abusing prescription drugs?
Pay attention to his or her medicines and their behavior.
A person who is addicted to a prescription drug may:
- Get a prescription for the same medicine from two different doctors
- Fill a prescription for the same medicine at two different pharmacies
- Take more of a prescription medicine than they used to or take more than is instructed on the label
- Take the medicine at different times or more often than is instructed on the label
- Have behavior changes, such as becoming more withdrawn or angry
- Often think or talk about a medicine
- Be afraid to go without taking a medicine
- Be uncomfortable or defensive when you ask about the medicine
- Make excuses for why they need a medicine
- Store “extra” pills in their purse or in their pocket
- Sneak or hide medicine
- Have been treated for alcohol, drug, or prescription drug abuse in the past
Also be aware of the type of drugs that can cause a problem.
According to a recent government study, the leading opioids taken by Medicare patients were OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Fentanyl, or their generic equivalents.
And there’s a lot of dope floating around out there. According to the same government study, there were about 40 million prescriptions for these drugs written last year alone—That’s enough prescriptions for every Medicare beneficiary in the country to get one.
Resources for Episode 21
- Drug Abuse and the Elderly by Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts
- Seniors and Prescription Drug Addiction by AgingCare
- Elderly at Risk for Prescription Drug Abuse by The Partnership at DrugFree.org