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While many Americans worry about the damage done by illegal drugs, a new study reveals just how pernicious legal prescription drugs can be.
According to a new FindLaw.com survey, a surprising one in four Americans admitted to abusing prescription drugs. "Abuse" in this case includes using the drug other than for its intended use, or use by someone other than the person on the prescription.
With startling revelations like these about the insidious nature of prescription drug abuse, what can consumers do to legally protect themselves?
Know the Legal Risks of Abuse
Whether you're using prescription drugs to self-medicate, or if someone else is making use of your leftover drugs, be aware of these potential legal consequences:
According to FindLaw.com's survey, up to 24 percent of Americans admit to taking medicine that was prescribed to someone else or giving their own meds away. That may open one-fourth of Americans to serious legal consequences.
Properly Dispose of Your Rx Meds
Instead of illegally selling or giving away your prescription drugs to a friend or stranger, dispose of them legally. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency holds National Take-Back Day events where you can drop off leftover prescription drugs to be properly disposed at listed collection sites.
The Food and Drug Administration also has compiled a list of drugs you can flush, while many others can be simply thrown in the garbage after being mixed-in with kitty litter or coffee grounds.
Don't contribute to the recent statistics in drug abuse, protect your health and legal wellbeing by being smart about prescription drugs.