Drug Abuse and Misuse

I used to be a bully! Don’t judge me until you know the full story, I had to be one. I grew up as the first and only girl among boys. Everyone always said my brothers would ‘soon change it for me’. They implied that I had to be tough so they wouldn’t trample over me. You may be wondering how drug abuse and me being a bully relate? Very simple. 

Drugs are the bullies to diseases and infections. When our bodies are sick, medications go in there to bully the bad microorganisms that may be causing the illness. For every drug, years and years of research has been done to ascertain its safety, efficacy and how to use. So, when your doctor says to use your medication for five days, it’s because it ‘ll take the drug five days to completely demolish the infection or disease in your body. 

You may then be wondering; ‘why do I feel better after using it for two days’? Here’s why. Our bodies are amazing. Our bodies have their own internal defense army. When you have a fever, it’s because your body’s defense system is launching missiles at the infection in your body. If the fever persists, it means that your body may need more help from a medication to finish the enemy. When you take your medication for two days and suddenly feel better, it’s because your body has the infection under control. In this state, the microorganism isn’t completely finished. It has simply reduced to a level where your body doesn’t have to launch a full attack against it. Microorganisms are really smart. In this weakened state, it is studying the defense mechanism of the drug and formulating another attack when you least expect it to. This is why the next time you use the same medication; you may have to use it for longer to have the same effect. Using the full course of your medication completely eradicates these infections. If you continue to misuse the drug each time you have an infection, the microorganism can become ‘resistant’ and the drug will no longer work. This leaves your body weak and vulnerable to further attack. 

EXAMPLES OF DRUG ABUSE AND MISUSE 

  • Using your drug at the wrong time. For example, using in the morning instead of at night 
  • Using a friend’s medication because you think you have the same condition. For example, friend A had headache and diarrhea and used Drug X. You have the same symptoms and decide to use Drug X too. Some diseases may have the same symptoms but different treatment.
  • Using the incorrect dose. For example, you’re unable to swallow a whole tablet of the drug given, you decide to break into two and take half (hmm…the microorganisms are rejoicing in your tummy) 
  • Stopping the drug at the wrong time. For example, deciding to use for three days instead of five 
  • Forgetting to take a dose of your medication 

Remember, our bodies occasionally need help from drugs to overcome diseases and infections. It is important that we are able to rely on these medications when we need them. The more often drugs are abused or misused, the more the enemy microorganism can overcome it. If you do not need a medication, do not use it. If your physician or pharmacist doesn’t prescribe a medication to you, do not use it. If your neighbor used Drug X for her baby who has the same symptoms as yours, there is no guaranty that it will work for you. Go to the hospital instead. Antibiotics do not flush your system or prevent pregnancies. Using two tablets of ‘flagyl’ for diarrhea is Drug Abuse.  

With these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that you should only use medications under the supervision of your doctor or your pharmacist.  

If you have any further questions, feel free to drop them in the comments or to my mail at maryam.sanuth@breastfeedingng.com.

Written By:

Maryam Sanuth

B.Pharm, IBCLC

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