Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Can I Use a Family Member’s Pain Medication to Treat an Injury?

Can I Use a Family Member's Pain Medication to Treat an Injury?Prescription pain medications are among the most addictive chemicals available. Names like oxycodone, hydrocodone and Demerol are common with both street dealers and in tabloid headlines. A common source of abused painkillers is pills left over from legitimate prescriptions.

The Risks of Non-prescribed Use of Painkillers

Most physicians will encourage patients to discontinue use of prescription painkillers as quickly as possible. The odds of developing an addiction are slim if a person with no history of substance abuse follows his dosing instructions precisely; but, it does happen. When patients rightly discontinue use of their meds as soon as they can, they may end up with leftover drugs, and it may be tempting to take or offer these to someone in the future. Leftover drugs should always be disposed of by either returning them to the pharmacy or to your doctor. It is important to allow your doctor to prescribe any necessary pain medications for new injuries, as it allows him or her to keep track of the amount of drugs being used by each patient.

Painkillers and Psychological Addiction

Prescription painkillers are often narcotic opiates. They block pain signals in the brain by binding to specialized chemical receptors. The risk for addiction comes from the effect these chemicals have on the pleasure center of the brain. Pain medications give users a euphoric high that blocks any symptoms of psychological distress as it blocks physical pain. The relief these drugs offer the brain is short-lived, though. The brain will crave this relief on a deep, emotional level that is much more powerful to direct behavior than rational thought. Individuals with any of the following psychological conditions should be extremely careful about taking narcotics:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Borderline personality disorders
  • Behavioral addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Attentive physicians will screen their patients for these issues before prescribing opiates. If you hand painkillers over to a family member, you may risk them becoming dependent with their first dose.

Painkiller Addiction Help

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction to prescription painkillers, we can help. Call our 24 hour toll-free helpline any time of day or night, and let our expert counselors answer your questions. We can connect you with the best possible recovery resources for your specific needs. If a family member is pressuring you to give him or her un-prescribed medications, call us for advice on how to talk about chemical dependency.

Addiction is a real disease that, if left untreated, can lead to depression, health issues or even death. Don’t risk it. Dispose of leftover prescription drugs properly (not by flushing into the public water supply), and call us for help right away. The call is free and confidential. Pick up the phone today.

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