Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs
The Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women developed a Committee Opinion on the Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs. The nonmedical use of prescription drugs, particularly opioids, sedatives, and stimulants, has been cited as epidemic in the United States, accounting for increasing numbers of emergency department visits and deaths from reactions and overdoses. The prevalence of prescription drug abuse is similar among men and women. Those who abuse prescription drugs most often obtain them from friends and family either through sharing or theft. Physicians should screen all patients annually and early in prenatal care with a validated questionnaire for the nonmedical use of prescription drugs. They should provide preventive education for all patients and referral for treatment, when psychologic or physical drug dependence is identified. Physicians should also educate patients in the proper use, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs.