Five Minutes or Less for Health Weekly Tip: Limit Alcohol and Prevent Prescription Drug Overdose

Limit alcoholAlcohol affects every organ in the body. Take a minute to rethink your drink.

  • Know your limits. Drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day for women and no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day for men.
  • Choose nonalcoholic beverages if you:
    • Are recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount you drink
    • May become pregnant or are pregnant
    • Plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, alertness, and coordination
    • Are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol
    • Have certain medical conditions
    • Are younger than 21

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Every day in the United States, 120 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments for the misuse or abuse of drugs. Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs. Take a few minutes to:

  • Discuss all medications you are taking (including over-the-counter) with your health provider.
  • Use prescription drugs only as directed by a health care provider, and store them in a secure place.
  • Dispose of medications properly, as soon as the course of treatment is done. Do not keep prescription medications around “just in case.”
  • Help prevent misuse and abuse by not selling or sharing prescription drugs. Never use another person’s prescription drugs.
  • Discuss pregnancy plans with your health provider before taking prescription painkillers.
  • Follow directions on the label when you give or take medicines.
  • Get help for substance abuse problems (1-800- 662-HELP); call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) for questions about medicines.

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Page last reviewed: April 1, 2015