Prescription drug abuse
It's safe because it's prescribed by doctors, right? Wrong.
Often, people incorrectly assume that abusing prescription drugs is relatively harmless, since, unlike street drugs such as heroin and cocaine, prescription drugs are legal and highly regulated.
In reality, prescription drug abuse can be just as lethal and addictive as illegal street drugs. Prescription drug abuse is widespread. Over 20% of American teenagers and adults have used prescription drugs for a non-medical purpose at least once in their lives.
Prescription drug abuse can lead to deadly consequences. Medications are prescribed to patients based on their individual circumstances and body makeup. People can have dramatically different reactions to a drug due to differences in their body chemistry. A pill that is curative to one person can be damaging or even deadly for another.
Furthermore, consuming more than the prescribed amount of a medicine can wreck havoc on the body.
Which prescription drugs are abused?
Prescription drug abuse is defined as taking a drug in a manner that was not intended. Whether you use someone else's medication or consume more than the prescribed dose in order to achieve a high, this is considered abuse. People abuse a wide range of prescription drugs, but some of the most common types include:
- opioids—most commonly used to treat pain
- central nervous system depressants—designed for anxiety and sleep disorders
- stimulants—typically used to treat ADHD
Click here to read more about the risks of prescription drug abuse.
Dangers of prescription drug abuse
For most prescription drugs, the effects of abuse can be life-threatening.
Opioids can cause choking, mood swings, decreased cognitive abilities, and slowness of breath, which could result in a coma or death.
Depressants can trigger memory problems and seizures.
Stimulants can cause heart complications, paranoia, and seizures.
Just like illegal street drugs, prescription drugs can be highly addictive.
Get help now
If you or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, it's time to get help. Contact one of our therapists today to learn more about how they can help or to learn more about online therapy.