Rather than use illicit or harmful substances like cocaine, meth or heroin for recreational purposes, some Texans use legal prescription medication to treat a legitimate health condition. Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial means to secure their own prescription, which may lead to asking friends and family for pills.

ULifeline explains some of the issues involved with taking medication prescribed to another person. Even the best intentions can result in an unfortunate outcome without the right information.

Legal issues

One of the first things to know about taking another’s medication is that doing so is illegal. The resulting legal trouble, fines and fees often make it less expensive to obtain a prescription legally.

The risk of addiction

Depending on the medication, there could be a risk of developing a harmful dependence. As Mount Nittany Health points out, medications also often come with side effects, which may not be easily recognizable to a person who does not expect them.

Health issues

Taking another’s medication to treat a health condition could result in worsening that health condition, or triggering another. Depressants and stimulants may lead to such issues as paranoia, memory problems and erratic heartbeat.

Accidents

With some prescription medications, it is best not to drive. When taken without knowledge of reactions and side effects, certain pharmaceuticals may impair a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery, both of which can lead to avoidable (and possibly fatal) accidents.

Doctors prescribe a specific medication after a diagnosis, to better ensure its safety and effectiveness. Without such a diagnosis, a person could accidentally impair her or his health or symptoms.