Are You Handing Out Prescription Painkillers? [AUDIO]
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds most people who abuse prescription painkillers are getting them for free from friends and relatives, not rogue doctors or the black market.
The CDC analyzed four years' worth of health surveys on pain relievers and found a majority of people indicated they were able to get drugs like OxyContin by asking buddies or members of their family.
"It really isn't surprising," said Steven Liga, executive director of the Middlesex County chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. "It could be as simple as somebody saying, 'I think I sprained my ankle but I don't really feel like going to the doctor,' and a friend or family member saying, 'Well, I've got some extra OxyContin, you should try these.'"
Liga said that handing out painkillers to friends or relatives is not a good idea.
"It's illegal to share prescription medications, and there's a good reason for that," Liga said. "Your doctor prescribed them for you for your particular condition. If somebody is asking you for a pain medication, really what they need is either to go to their doctor or take something that's over the counter."
There's another reason to say no as well.
"If that person is taking that medication and it is too much for them, it's certainly possible that an addiction could develop," Liga said, "so when the supply runs out you have to turn to something else, and you're either going to turn to the black market and get prescription drugs and then find out they're expensive, so then you try heroin, 'cause that's going to be much cheaper."
For Liga, this is becoming a dangerous routine.
"It is a pattern that we see happening over and over," he said. "It is a way for folks to try and start using something."