Do Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Medicine
Back in the day, sugar sprinkled with a spoonful of gossip was the typical commodity to share over the fence between neighbors and friends. Perhaps if cooking or scandal was not your forte, then an innocent request for a snow blower may be on par. Yet today, what is freely passing over neighborly coffees and talk of petunias is prescription medications whereby turning innocent backyards into outdoor pill dispensaries.
It is common to hear that we have become desensitized. Typically desensitization refers to such offensive stuff such as violent carjacking video games, bad manners and daily mentions of ill at large. Yet, we have also become immune to the dangers that lurk deep in the bowels of our own medicine cabinet and the quick impulse to dole out said medicine. Perhaps in a neighborly gesture gone array, friends teeming with good intentions, offer their prescription meds to others in need of a pill.
Sharing we are taught is a good thing. From days long before we can even remember, our mothers were reminding us and scolding us to share, share, share. Share your favorite toy, share that half eaten cracker, share the remote with your brother. Thus, it may only be succumbing to a natural instinct that to see a friend in need illicits a helpful response. Urinary tract infection? Oh here are some unused antibiotics. Stress at work or a big presentation coming up? Here is some Adderall or Ritalin. Wisdom teeth bothering you? Here’s some Oxycontin. Bad breakup? Here’s a Valium. That’s what friends are for after all.
According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, women 18 to 44 lead the trend. Over 36% polled in this group, admitted that they have either lent or borrowed a prescription drug from a friend or family member.
Obviously most such exchanges are done in the interest of bypassing the pesky need to do all that is required to get their own script. Burning sensation NOW, molars aching NOW, big presentation in 5 minutes. Hardly enough time to call your doctor, speak with a human, go to the appointment, get a diagnosis, bring prescription to pharmacy, wait in line behind a man filling a year’s worth meds, get home and pop in mouth.
One pill seems very innocuous at the time. Yet this seemingly innocent and harmless share cloaks the risks and danger of this friendly activity. Not only can taking antibiotics for a partial course ultimately cause the creation of drug-resistant bacteria, but also many drugs for common conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and chronic pain can interact with other prescription meds and even cause severe side effects. In cases such as these, sharing is not caring.
So while America’s dependency on prescription meds, ability to pay for expensive prescription meds and time restraints grow, fight your mother’s advice and the urge to share. For what you may be unwittingly sharing is side effects, risk of lethal injury and may even be robbing friends and family or even yourself as the case may be of an accurate medical diagnosis. So resist that deeply ingrained need to ante up your medicine cabinet and stick to the sugar instead.