D. Although they are legal, addiction to prescription medications can occur just like with drugs obtained on the black market. How are society's perceptions of a drug's safety influenced by its legal status? The legal status of prescription medications provides a sense of confidence in people for the benefits obtained from those drugs and the safety people feel is provided when taking those drugs. Drugs marked as illegal strike fear into people for people don't want to face the consequences provided by the law, and the idea behind illegal drugs is very alarming to people because they do not trust the environment these illegal drugs are produced and sold in. Quanity also plays afactor in society's perception on drug safety. People trust the amount of a drug provided when a physician prescribes the drug. Prescription medication also has directions for use of the drug. When people obtain drugs illegally they can buy as much of the drug as they want, depending on the amount of money they have, and there is no suggested control of use. There is a changing view towards the confidence instilled by the legality of a drug use due to the rise of prescription drug abuse. In places such as south Florida, physicians are turning into 'legalized' drug dealers providing drug addicts with excessive amounts of prescribed drugs. (JM)

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--- To answer this question, lets first consider the line society draws between drugs of medication and drugs of abuse. We have previously drawn the line at the 'intent' of the drug. Medications are taken to 'move on in life,' or alleviate problems to allow a fuller quality of life, while drugs of abuse are taken as an escape from life. Presumably, this hazy distinction holds in both the law and in society - legal medications are only taken to alleviate symptoms and improve life quality. Society tends to trust the judgement of medical authorities as to what is medication and what is abusive. However, this hardly describes the extent of the issue. How to explain abused prescription medication or medical drugs that are illegal outside of specific scenarios? How is a person who takes marijuana to overcome cancer different from one who takes it to overcome a miserable life? The fact is that any kind of drug we take involves balancing morals and weighing consequences, and there is no clear-cut distinction between what is 'ok' and what is not. In this respect there is much ambiguity in how we percieve drug saftey, and simply trusting legality as the deciding factor does not provide an adequate answer. (MB)