The mission of the My Smart Dose initiative is to break the cycle of prescription drug abuse among young people through prevention, education, and awareness.
My Smart Dose is a cooperative effort of the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is made possible by a grant provided by SAMHSA, part of the Governor’s Council on Opioid Overdose and Addiction.
Every day in the U.S., as many as 120 people die from a drug overdose. Many of these deaths result from drugs first prescribed by doctors, like:
- Painkillers for patients after major surgeries
- Sedatives for those with nervous disorders
- Stimulants for children struggling with ADHD
Medicine needed by one person can become poison when taken by another. Please join My Smart Dose as an ambassador—get the word out to all you know on how to get smart about prescription drugs.
The Dangers are Real
In spite of what many think, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal “street” drugs.
- Commonly prescribed painkillers affect the same part of brain that heroin does—they can cause drowsiness and slow breathing to dangerous levels
- Chronic use of sedatives can lead to shallow breathing, disorientation, seizures, and other health effects
- Like cocaine, abused stimulants can cause paranoia and heart problems
Because our brains continue to develop well into our 20s, abuse of even legal drugs can cause lifelong damage.
Not Worth the Risk
If your name isn’t on the label, it’s not worth taking it. It’s just not worth it to fit in with the crowd, or to cram for exams, or deal with stress. Misusing prescription drugs to escape problems only leads to ones that are worse. You can lose your health, your relationships, your job, and your future.
Keep Yourself and Others Safe
Use prescription drugs correctly:
- Use prescription drugs only as directed
- Store them in a secure place
- Dispose of medications properly as soon as the course of treatment is done
- Do not sell or share prescription drugs
Here’s What to Look For
If you experience these signs, or see them in someone else, they may point to addiction:
- You need more pills to achieve the same effect
- Hyperactivity or extreme sleepiness
- Mood/behavior changes, withdrawal from friends and family
- Stealing or forging prescriptions, getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors
- Physical withdrawal such as flu-like symptoms