Principles of Narcotic Use, Volume 1
You aren't really supposed to use all your pills every month. (*1)
The doctor wrote "as needed" on there. In plainer English, it means "if needed" (and sometimes I change this wording on Rx labels for clarity). (*2)
Let's switch gears for a minute and think about this concept as applied to any other finite but renewable resource. A debit card: You can use it "as needed" but you will be shit out of luck before next payday if you don't pace yourself and limit your usage. A tank full of gas, a gallon of milk, a prepaid phone plan, whatever it is, you must use it less than you actually are allowed if you want to have enough to last for the anticipated length of time (allowing for occasional exceptional days and situations).
If you take your fucking addictive narcotic pain reliever / anxiety pills / sleep pills exactly at the maximum rate that is written "as needed" on the bottle, then you have zero wiggle room. When you lose a dose or need an extra dose, you have no surplus from which to draw. What happens when you run out during a holiday or after hours when the doctor's office is closed? Do you really think the physician looks favorably upon you calling him away from his family? - -For your narcotics, nonetheless; not even a serious scheduled drug like, say, seizure meds or HIV stuff.
"But Reapre", you may be axking me, "I do actually need that maximum amount of medicine for exactly that amount of time." Ahh, I'm glad you mentioned this. That means that you need to talk to your doctor about raising the amount. He won't at all be worried about you if you are taking less than he prescribed, and making a bottle last a more than a month each time. Guess what will worry him. You coming in and making him risk his medical license (*3) because you're badgering or wheedling or lying to him about losing pills or going out of town to a funeral or on vacation or whatever every fucking single month.
I really wish people understood more about addiction. All kinds of good persons can be addicted. Hell, there are many a number of things I'm addicted to, although they aren't powerful enough to make me hit rock bottom in financial or behavioural terms. Are you acting shitty towards your pharmacy staff because they won't give you your damn pills? They're your pills; why won't they give them to you? There's a reason. It's not because pharmacies are all staffed by pathological assholes. Addicts tend to turn their gaze and machinations towards everything else but themselves.
I should probably split this into its own topic but I'm going to go on and dive into the hive mind analogy here. I'm not only switching gears; I'm dismantling the engine and going meta on this thread.
It could be argued that a bee hive is a rudimentary organism. Each bee is akin to a cell and they're specialized into functions like our body organs. Some of them create and maintain a structure to house the hive; they go out and explore for food and then communicate it to the hive; they defend the hive at the expense of their own lives; they procreate and start new hives; etc.
They are very much akin to our nervous systems. The bees don't know that a bear is swatting at it, but the hive lashes out at it. The activity never rises to the level of conscious thought, as a bee or as a hive. But it damn well does these highly organized defense mechanisms.
If you addicted or tricked a couple of bees into thinking that some super awesome thing was over nearby in this field here, the hive would divert resources into obtaining it. It will attack anything that interferes with its procurement of it. Your brain is also a product of nature, and is organized along roughly analogous lines.
The 90 percent of your brain that isn't involved in conscious thought does a whole lot of shit that you don't know about except on a conceptual level. You don't ever have any sense of the workings of a couple billion nerves that go about with the regulation of blood pressure, for example. You don't ever have a conscious thought that makes you think, "hmmm, my brain's reward center is becoming slightly less awash with endorphines [or norepinephrine or whatever] so I had better take exogenous narcotics [or cocaine or nicotine or whatever] that has no actual nutritional or benevolent impact on my ability to thrive as a human organism." But you sure as hell will pick up that bottle and pop the pill when you get that urge.
Your brain might even trick you into sensing pain (or magnifying a small existing pain) to satisfy the couple million of nerve cells that are addicted to the substance. Your brain will nudge you into lashing in an uncharacteristic behaviour towards the normally beloved person who won't loan you money or take you to the pharmacy or give you your refill. You'll never notice it unless you are forced to.
It's your choice whether you examine yourself for addictive patterns before an authority figure forces you to.
(*1) Exception: Chronic pain patients who take timed-release medicines such as 72-hour fentanyl or 12-hour oxycodone, etc.
(*2) It should be mentioned that I am of course biased on this topic. This is the point of view of a doctor of pharmacy who has also devoted a great deal of scholastic and extracurricular time to understanding psychology and philosophy as well.
(*3) (and his respectability and his livelihood and his ability to provide for his family..)