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National Safety Dose Day – May 15, 2023

National Safety Dose Day is observed annually every May 15. It aims to call attention to the importance of taking prescription medication responsibly to avoid health risks like addiction or even death. Many people see their doctor for drugs that give pain relief, and about 20% of them will be prescribed an opioid or narcotic. Unfortunately, opioids are being overprescribed. Adults who have been prescribed opioids by doctors become addicted or move on to more dangerous drugs like heroin. Opioid poisoning has now overtaken car crashes as the number one cause of accidental death in the United States. Between 1999 and 2019, nearly 500,000 people died of opioid overdose.

History of National Safety Dose Day

Derived from the poppy plant, opiates have been around for thousands of years. In early 19th-century Britain, the recreational use of opium was at an all-time high. Codeine and morphine are two examples of products derived from opium. Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, morphine is a very powerful pain killer, but also very addictive. Opioids are commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain by blocking the pain signals between the brain and the body. It can also enhance your mood and physical well-being. That’s why people are prone to become addicted to it. Many think the best way to treat pain is by taking opioids but other equally effective medicines are non-addictive like ibuprofen or naproxen. They don’t just abuse their prescription medication, but they get painkillers from friends and relatives as well. Many people don’t realize that sharing prescription drugs is illegal in the United States.

Constipation, drowsiness, nausea, slowed breathing, and confusion are some other side effects of painkillers. Prolonged use of opioid painkillers and taking them in large doses can not only lead to drug addiction but drug poisoning as well. In 2014, National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that there were 4.3 million nonmedical users of painkillers. Nearly two million people suffered from painkiller abuse disorders.

Aside from pain medications such as morphine, codeine, OxyContin, and Vicodin, there are many other commonly abused drugs. Sedatives and tranquilizers used for anxiety and sleep disorders are misused as well. This list also includes medications for A.D.H.D. such as Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin. Whatever ailments you suffer from, it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding medication.

National Safety Dose Day timeline

1803
Morphine is Discovered

German pharmacist Friedrich Serturner extracts morphine, an opioid analgesic from opium.

1839 – 1842
First Opium War Begins

War breaks out between China and the United Kingdom as the Qing Dynasty launches a campaign to stop British merchants from selling opium in China.

1914
Harrison Narcotics Act is Passed

Restrictions are placed on opioids to limit their commercial use in the United States.

1980s and 1990s
F.D.A. Approves Three New Painkillers

Vicodin hits the market in 1984, Oxycontin in 1996, and Percocet in 1999.

1990s
A Rise in Overdose Deaths

A marked increase in prescription opioid overdose deaths is seen in the United States.

National Safety Dose Day FAQs

Who invented OxyContin?

Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sacker family, produces OxyContin. It gives relief from chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, injuries, cancer, and injuries for up to 12 hours.

Why is prescription drug abuse on the rise?

It’s easy to abuse prescription medication when there are so many drugs available on the market. Aside from the physical stores, online pharmacies make medicines more accessible than before.

Who are the most at risk for prescription drug abuse?

Youths aged 18 to 25, older adults, and women are more at risk for prescription drug abuse in the United States.

How to Observe National Safety Dose Day

  1. Clean out your medicine cabinet

    Do an inventory of the contents of your medicine drawer or first aid kit. Replace old prescriptions with updated ones. Check the expiry dates and throw away expired medications.

  2. Buy a pill organizer

    If you have trouble remembering to take your daily medicine, invest in a pill case with several compartments. You can store your scheduled doses of medications in one convenient place.

  3. Start a healthy pill habit

    Talk to your doctor and find out what multivitamin or supplement you can take to improve your health and well-being. Form a routine of taking it and make sure it is the advised amount.

5 Negative Facts About Painkillers

  1. They don’t work well against long-term pain

    For short-term usage to combat pain from surgery, for example, opioid medications work well.

  2. Dangers of an old prescription or pills

    If you took a high dose of pills in the past, stopped, then decided to take the same dose now, you could accidentally overdose on your prescription.

  3. Alcohol and painkillers are a dangerous combination

    Both can make you feel drowsy and can render you doubly impaired.

  4. They can be addictive

    Many people become dependent on prescription pain pills even if the drugs are negatively affecting them mentally or physically.

  5. Short-acting drugs are safer

    There’s no evidence that long-acting drugs are less addictive, but they are more likely to cause an overdose even with recommended doses.

Why National Safety Dose Day is Important

  1. It encourages us to be mindful

    There’s a pill for almost everything these days. We should still remember not to abuse these medicines and listen to our doctors to be safe.

  2. It can break bad habits

    If you're the type who keeps and uses old prescriptions, or worse, tends to take a relative or a friend's pills, this is a day for turning over a new leaf. Break your bad habits, starting today.

  3. It creates awareness

    People can be addicted to pills without them realizing it. This day reminds us of the negative effects of abusing and misusing prescriptions.

National Safety Dose Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 15Monday
2024May 15Wednesday
2025May 15Thursday
2026May 15Friday
2027May 15Saturday

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