First, it is important that we understand some important terminology as we go forward with this course:


Using a medication as prescribed to treat an illness or symptom, i.e. opioid medications to treat pain. The use is in a manner that is safe both for the patient and the individuals around them. This also includes the safe storage and disposal of medications to prevent the accidental misuse of these medications by others.


Abuse is the self-administration of medications to alter one’s state of consciousness (“get high”). This is an intentional, maladaptive pattern of use of a medication (whether legitimately prescribed or not) leading to significant impairment or distress, such as repeated failure to fulfill role obligations, recurrent use in situations in which it is physically hazardous, multiple legal problems, recurrent social and interpersonal problems, and usually occurring over a 12-month period.