Too Much of a Good Thing

While prescription medications are used to help us live longer and healthier lives, any medication has the potential to do harm. When used incorrectly, prescription or over-the-counter medications can cause significant damage. HCA Healthcare recognizes the importance of education as a preventative measure to medication misuse and abuse, particularly in the young adult and adolescent population.

HCA Healthcare Pharmacists

While most people may be accustomed to receiving medication education in the community pharmacy setting, inpatient pharmacists also provide medication education.

Anne Kidd, PharmD, BCPP, a Clinical Psychiatric Pharmacist Specialist for Psychiatry at Lewis Gale Center for Behavioral Health in Salem, Va., has served geriatric, adult, and adolescent patients for more than 20 years. She understands that adolescents may inappropriately use medications or substances to cope with the stressors of daily life, without recognizing the potential social, physical, or legal consequences

“Children and adolescents are able to understand why they are taking a medication and giving them the responsibility of knowing the basic information empowers them.” Dr. Kidd said.  “They are more likely to take care of themselves if they feel they are responsible for themselves. It is my experience that adolescents, especially, respond to education.”

The Facts

Some adolescents may experience peer pressure leading to prescription drug misuse. Below are a few statistics on rates of regular prescription misuse by teenagers.

  • Natural Survey on Drug Use and Health: 6.2%
  • Monitoring the Future Study: 13.9%
  • The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: 16%

Even still, prescription overdose deaths contribute to a leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.  Everyone, adults and adolescents alike, can make a difference in this statistic by following three simple rules:

  1. Keep your medications to yourself. They are intended to be used by the individual whose name is on the prescription only. Proper storage is also important to prevent unintended access to medications.
  2. Follow the instructions. They are there to keep you safe and decrease side effects.
  3. Be a good role model. Encourage your loved ones to do follow these practices.

Visit here for more information on appropriate drug usage and prevention of misuse, and here for general talking tips and toolkits.

HCA 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.