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Although some still shun medication, calling it unnatural and unnecessary, there is no denying that medication can be a lifesaver for some people when used properly and safely.
Talk About Prescriptions Month in October is doing just that: “promoting safe use and preventing abuse.”
The month was created in 1985 by the National Council on Patient Information and Education, according to W. Ray Bullman, the executive vice president of the organization.
“Our mission statement is to stimulate and improve communication to promote safe and appropriate medicine use to the public and health care professionals because that’s where that communication needs to occur,” Bullman said.
Each year has a slightly different focus with the same overall goals – this year’s focus is mainly on safe use and abuse prevention, and there are resources on the organization’s website devoted to prescription drug abuse on college campuses.
“We see the college campus as…it’s certainly an integral part of local communities and is an opportunity to reach for us a new subset or audience of people who use medicines,” Bullman said.
According to the website, “those of college-age have among the highest rates of prescription drug abuse. About one in four people aged 18 to 20 report using these medications non-medically at least once in their lives.”
The organization promotes the discussion of risk, respect and responsibility regarding medication.
Risk includes allowing someone to borrow medication when they haven’t been given a prescription, and side effects for that person are unknown.
The organization had a similar focus in 2007 or 2008 on being medicine smart.
“A key part of that is making sure to keep and maintaining a current medicine list as a means for initiating a discussion when a new medicine is either prescribed or recommended as part of the treatment management,” Bullman said.
Medication not only affects the body – it can be an important treatment for mental disorders and it can impact mental health.
“Medicines don’t work unless you take them,” Bullman said.