Common Prescription Medications Which Are Abused

According to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, a bill that passed in the U.S. Senate and House this spring, “overdoses from heroin, prescription drugs, and opioid pain relievers [in 2014] surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in America…” This figure is from the Centers for Disease Control, and it’s a staggering example of how addictions are creating a public health problem in the U.S. Even though prescription drugs are legal when prescribed by a physician, they can still lead to a drug addiction. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise.

Abused Medications

Medication Classes Which Are a Concern

After marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medications lead the list of commonly abused substances by adults and teenagers over the age of 14. These types of drugs fit into three classes:

  • Opioids which treat pain, and include, OxyContin® or oxycodone, hydrocodone or Vicodin®, meperidine or Demerol®
  • Stimulants which are used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy, such as Adderall® or Ritalin®
  • Central nervous system depressants which treat anxiety or sleep disorders, including diazepam or Valium®, alprazolam or Xanax®, and pentobarbital sodium or Nembutal®

These are just a few of the most common prescription drugs that are abused.

Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse

When a person uses prescription drugs in a way that wasn’t intended or without a prescription, this is abuse. It could be taking the medication when you’re bored or feeling out-of-sorts, not for pain. If you’ve altered a prescription or gotten medication illicitly or illegally, you might be abusing prescription drugs. Researchers aren’t completely sure why some people become addicted to prescription drugs and others don’t. One important factor can be the age of the individual. Because drugs alter the brain’s chemistry, when the brain is still in development, with young adults, it can cause serious addiction problems. The thing to realize is that is no shame in seeking treatment for a drug addiction. The sooner you seek treatment, the less likely the addiction will progress, causing more serious problems.

Get Help to Break the Addiction

Many states have enacted policies making it more difficult to get prescription medication that can be abused, but people still have avenues to get these medications. If you or a loved one is addicted to a prescription medication, Brighton Center for Recovery offers addiction treatment with compassion and dignity. Call today to discuss the admissions procedure to find out more about getting the tools to live clean and sober.

Skip to content