Prescription Drug Abuse, What Everybody Ought To Know

Prescription drug abuse is an ever-increasing problem in the United States, especially among teenagers. It is extremely easy to obtain prescription drugs for free and without a prescription from family members or friends. Because of the easy access to these drugs, prescription drug abuse now ranks 2nd as the nation’s most prevalent illegal drug problem. More than 6.4 million Americans are using prescription drugs for non medical reasons.

There are three classes of prescription drugs that are most commonly abused in the United States. They are as follows:

1) Opioids

are prescribed for treating pain. Examples include codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), morphine (Kadian and Avinza), hydrocodone (Vicodin)

2) Central Nervous System Depressants

are prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders. Common examples are barbiturates (Mebaral and Nembutal), benzodiazepines (Valium and Xanax)

3) Stimulants

are prescribed for narcolepsy, ADHA and in some cases, weight loss. These include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta)

Using prescription drugs illegally and not under a doctor’s supervision can lead to many serious health problems. Opioids can cause breathing to slow down and in some instances, stop completely. CNS Depressants can lead to seizures, respiratory depression, and decreased heart rate. High body temperature, irregular heart rate, and cardiovascular system failure can be some of the risks associated with the use of Stimulants. Abusing any of these drugs can ultimately lead to death.

The withdrawal process from certain prescription drugs can be potentially life-threatening. If an individual would like to stop their drug use, it is recommended that they participate in a medically supervised detox where the drug dosage can gradually be tapered. Inpatient or outpatient counseling is also highly recommended to help the individual deal with their drug addiction as well as any other psychological problems that they may have.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.