Desperate times call for desperate measures, or so they say. However, desperation does not call when it comes to something as serious as health and medicine.
All over the country, people will do anything they can to get their hands on a drug that will reduce their pain, even if it is not prescribed to them.
In fact, a continuous poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos states that at least one in 10 Americans have confessed to taking someone else’s prescription.
No matter what their reason is, this is extremely dangerous, and illegal.
Jean Swearingen, ISU’s Medical Director, explained there are many side effects and risks that can result from it.
“Medications need to be tailored to the particular patient — their specific symptoms and diagnosis, evaluation of interactions with other medications they may be taking and other medical illnesses, as well as allergy history,” Swearingen explained.
“Taking prescription medications that weren’t specifically prescribed for you, would not take these factors into consideration and could increase the risk for adverse reactions.”
Patrick Moraleda, a pharmacist at Student Health Services, agrees.
“The medicine is not prescribed to you, therefore you don’t need it,” Moraleda said.
Every medicine is different, and while one may have worse side effects than another, it is not worth the risk, he added.
Aside from the dangers, it is actually illegal to take another’s prescription.
“One can only be dispensed to a legal prescription of their own, that’s the law,” Moraleda explained.
A common reason people resort to taking somebody else’s prescription, as concluded from the poll, is it will cut down on healthcare costs and essentially save them money.
Both Swearingen and Moraleda agree though, that it is not worth it, and there are always insurance and healthcare companies that are willing to work with the patient to lower costs.
Insurances typically cover most popular medicines, especially on a college campus, Moraleda said.
“We are hoping that the law gets passed for next year, so insurance will cover all prescriptions for students,” he added.
While this could be a problem at ISU, Swearingen said it is difficult to assess how often because it is usually done in secrecy.
“It does appear to be a common problem,” she said. “In most cases, it is probably due to the easy access and the lack of awareness of potential problems with the practice.”
With any questions or concerns, contact the student pharmacy, located in the Student Services Building.
“There is a student pharmacy available to the students, and that’s why we’re here, so we advise them to use it,” Moraleda said.