From a survey of 25,000 adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a whole lot of people are using their friends' and family's prescription drugs. The numbers go as high as 29 percent of women and 27 percent of men engaging in this practice.

The rates of drugs-sharing appear to be the highest among younger women, ages 18 to 44, representing a special concern about health risks related to this kind of behaviour in women who might become pregnant. Prescription drugs cause a whole lot of side effects and interact with other medication. Additionally, pain medications carry a risk of addiction.

A report published in The Journal of Women’s Health says that one in three of women of reproductive age shared prescription drugs with friends. When translated into percentage, about 37 percent of women of reproductive age shared drugs in comparison to 20 percent of women in other age groups. The same problem is also common among teenage girls. In 2003, the medical journal Pediatrics found that 20 percent of teen girls shared medications while only 13 percent of teen boys did the same.

Most commonly borrowed and shared medications are allergy and pain pills, which as already mentioned, carry a risk of addiction. Some drugs, additionally, can pose a risk to a developing embryo or fetus if a woman became pregnant while taking borrowed medications.

Most of the time, the drugs were borrowed if already previously prescribed but didn’t have it with them, or if the user had a similar health problem as the person who had the prescription pills.

Study authors believe that patients need to be counseled about the potential risks of sharing and borrowing medications, especially women of childbearing age.