Friday, June 22, 2012

What Constitutes Prescription Drug Abuse?

The CDC has released a report estimating that more than 1 in 5 high school students abuses legal prescription drugs. When I was in high school, I was just about the last person to hear about (and certainly follow) any trend among my peers, but I knew about drug abuse in the school, who was in rehab, where I could get drugs if I so chose, etc. I rarely heard about anything legal being abused (alcohol doesn't count because of our ages at the time.)

Here's the part I enjoy: blurring the line between my "language" category and the current events issue at hand. Does the CDC definition of abuse correlate with the dictionary definition? The verb "abuse" is defined by as "use wrongly or improperly; misuse." Prescription drug abuse is defined for the purpose of the study as "having taken a prescription drug without a doctor's prescription."

I should note that I do not condone misuse of any chemical substance, legal or otherwise. I have, however, taken a prescription medication without a doctor's prescription. For years, I have had (spring) seasonal allergies. One year, a particularly bad allergic bout started while I was visiting a cousin. She gave me a dose of Zyrtec from her son's prescription, saying that I should go to my doctor and get my own prescription if it worked. The pill worked wonders, and shortly after that visit, Zyrtec became available over the counter. I've been taking it as needed ever since, all thanks to supposed "prescription drug abuse."