When a conversation turns to drug abuse, most people automatically consider the impact of illegal, controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin. However, more and more cases center on strong over the counter (OTC) medications that are being abused or illegally altered.
Drugs sold over the counter are specifically designed to alleviate minor medical symptoms. Typically, they carry warnings regarding quantity and duration. However, people ignore these warnings and use OTC medications in a manner other than intended. Whether taking a large dose or taking certain numerous medications concurrently to create dangerous drug interactions, it is easy for individuals to abuse OTC drugs.
OTC drug abuse can come in many forms, including:
- Taking more than the recommended dose
- Taking the medication for longer than necessary
- Using the medication for recreational purposes
- Altering the medication
- Taking the medication when it is not medically necessary
While people might believe that the altered state attained by OTC abuse is not as serious as street or club drugs, there is a chance to cause severe physical harm, permanent damage or overdose. Chronic abuse of pain relievers can potentially lead to kidney or liver damage in addition to stomach bleeds and cardiac issues. Additionally, OTC medications might lower inhibitions, increasing the potential for engaging in risky or illegal behaviors.
What Does It Mean To Alter A Medicine?
In recent years, many people have worked out different ways to alter various OTC medications. Whether that means liquefying a pill and mixing with another substance or taking an OTC drug in combination with another chemical that increases potency. The most dangerous OTC alteration results in meth, but even less severe examples can result in a criminal charge centering on “drugged driving.”