*See copyright notice at bottom*

Is My Loved One a Prescription Drug Abuser?
by Mark J. Estren, PhD & Beverly A. Potter, PhD

Read each item carefully as you think about how it applies to your loved one, friend, or colleague. Rate how often the statement describes your loved one or friend’s behavior on  a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is “rarely” and 5 is “usually,”

My friend or loved one:
___ 1.  Keeps leftover meds for future use.

___ 2.  Goes to the doctor for a new script before using up the old one.

___ 3. Goes to multiple doctors for the same meds.

___ 4. Takes meds for something other than for what it was prescribed.

___ 5. Increases the dose if the prescribed amount is not helping.

___ 6. Takes someone else’s meds.

___ 7. Loses or misplaces meds and has to get replacements.

___ 8. Has mood swings when taking meds.

___ 9. Uses meds to improve alertness and concentration.

___ 10. Uses meds to relieve tension and relax.

___ 11. Needs stronger pain relievers than what others use.

___ 12. Needs more meds than the doctor prescribes.

___ 13. Enjoys the effects of meds.

___ 14. Has trouble making decisions while taking meds.

___ 15. Looks forward to taking meds.

15: You use prescription drugs responsibly.
16-30: While you generally use prescription drugs responsibly, you are a prescription drug abuser by the government’s definition—although not in the opinion of most people.
31-45: You are in danger of becoming a prescription drug abuser. Talk to your doctor about how you use prescribed drugs to be sure you are getting the maximum benefit from them with the lowest likelihood of harm or drug dependency.
46-60: Strong likelihood of abuse. Discuss your drug use with your doctor to find ways to prevent full-scale abuse and possible addiction.
61-75: You are in serious danger of becoming drug dependent. Seek guidance from your doctor as soon as possible.

What Your Score Means
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS should be used only at the time they are prescribed, for the specific condition for which they are prescribed—and should be properly discarded if you do not use them up. By government standards, even the slightest deviation from this equals abuse—which makes practically everyone at least a low-level abuser.

The real medical issue has to do with obtaining more drugs than you need, using them for purposes other than those for which they are prescribed, and enjoying the effects they have—as opposed to simply using them to get through an injury or illness more comfortably.

If in doubt about whether you may be abusing prescription drugs—or misusing them, a less pejorative term—talk to your doctor. This may be difficult—but remember that your doctor will not condemn you for your behavior. A doctor’s job is to help, not to judge.
Copyright: 2013 by Mark J. Estren & Beverly A. Potter.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Quiz may be copied for personal use. Any other use or distribution requires written permission from the publisher or author. Ronin Publishing, PO Box 22900, Oakland CA 94609 (ronin @ roninpub . com).