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How to Use Pill Identifiers to Recognize Prescription and Illegal Drugs

by | Last updated Feb 10, 2021 at 10:48AM | Published on Feb 4, 2021 | Drug Addiction

pill identifier

The idea of pill identifiers started to help people recognize prescription drugs and confirm that they received the right medication. Yet, pill identifiers can be quite helpful for more than that. Think about it, if you find a pill on the floor or in your child’s bedroom and you don’t recognize it, a pill identifier software can help you figure out if it’s an illegal drug or not. 

What’s a Pill Identifier?

Every pill is unique and has an identification process that makes it easy to identify. By law, every medication, tablet, and capsule approved by the FDA must have a unique identifier. Each pill needs to have a specific design with a unique shape, pattern, and colors. They also need to have a unique identifier. A pill identifier is an online tool that contains a database of all FDA-approved pills. 

How Does It Work?

There are many types of pill finder software out there, but Pillbox is one of the most recognized. It is run by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, which means it’s a source you can trust. 

Physical Appearance

The first thing most pill identifiers look for is the physical appearance of the pill itself. Users are asked to input the different elements of the pill design. This includes the color, the shape, and any other aspects of the pill’s appearance, such as if they have a pattern, lined, two-toned, etc. 

Decoding the Imprint

The next step is to add the imprint information. Sometimes this may be worn off, and it becomes more challenging to add this information. The imprint is usually a combination of letters and numbers on one or both sides of the pill. It’s often printed in ink or engraved on the tablet. 

Finding the Pill

Finally, the pill identifier will show you images or names of potential pills that match your description. Make sure you verify all the information you add to ensure you get an answer. Then, the pill identifier will show you information about the pill, such as drug interactions, the manufacturer, and so on.

What If I Don’t Find My Pill?

Even if you double-check, sometimes the pill identifier won’t find the pill you’re looking for. Most likely, it may not be an FDA-approved drug. This can mean it’s a vitamin or supplement that doesn’t need FDA surveillance. However, it also means that you have an illegal drug, a counterfeit drug, or another remedy in your hands. 

You may want to take it to your pharmacist to ask for help. If you find drugs in your child’s bedroom, it might be time to talk to them about your findings. This could mean they’re misusing prescription drugs or other illegal drugs that could lead to substance use disorders.

No matter what, do not flush the pills down the toilet. Medications can pollute nearby waterways as most water treatment systems cannot remove all the water’s chemicals. If this isn’t your child’s drug, and it doesn’t belong to anyone in your household, take the pill to an authorized US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collection site

If you determine that someone in your household is misusing drugs, please reach out to an addiction specialist. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we can help you stage an intervention to bring up the subject of seeking treatment. 

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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