MILLINGTON, Tenn., December 12, 2013 (NNS) – Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them.
However, an estimated 20 percent of people in the United States use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. Understanding how to take prescription drugs correctly can not only keep a Sailor safe, but it can save their careers as well.
“The Navy’s zero tolerance policy regarding drug use are no surprise to Sailors,” said LaNorfeia Parker, deputy director, Navy Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program. “What some Sailors may not realize is that drug misuse and abuse not only includes the use of illegal drugs, but also any inappropriate use of pharmaceuticals, even if they are prescribed by a healthcare provider.”
Inappropriate use of pharmaceuticals includes:
* Use of prescription medication outside of its intended purpose. For example, taking a narcotic now for back pain when the medication was originally prescribed a year ago following knee surgery.
* The prescribed medicine is past the prescribed date. Read prescription labels, attached information sheets, and only take the medication for the period of time prescribed. Do not take a prescription that has expired. If you are not sure ask your provider.
* Taking prescription medication in excess of the prescribed dosing regimen. Any variation of the prescribed dose can have serious health impacts.
* Taking medication that was prescribed for someone else, whether they are a shipmate, spouse or friend.
Sailors who have a urinalysis sample that is identified as positive for controlled substances, for which they don’t have a valid prescription, may be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and processed for administrative separation from the Navy.
“Sailors should take extra precaution to know all the facts and consequences of the medicine they take,” said Parker. “And when you are not 100% sure, ask your healthcare provider. It is the Sailor’s responsibility to be fully aware of the proper use of any medication they are taking.”
For more information, see the fact sheet at www.nadap.navy.mil.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.