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.

Click here to connect with a therapist who can help you with drug abuse and addiction. 

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

15 Aug 2017


Popular Articles - Recommended for You

How to stop passive-aggressive behavior

How to stop passive-aggressive behavior

Because passive-aggressive behavior is not overt, it can be hard to recognize and even harder to stop. Below are some tips to stop passive-aggressive behavior.

September 4, 2017

How to increase psychological flexibility

How to increase psychological flexibility

Changing the way you think using these techniques to increase psychological flexibility can have a significant impact on anxiety, depression, work performance, & overall quality of life. You can learn to stop unhelpful thoughts from holding you back.

November 13, 2017 By Francisca Oredeko

Anxiety in the 21st century

Anxiety in the 21st century

Cases of anxiety disorders are up 1,200% over the past three decades and all of us are feeling stressed, even if we haven't been diagnosed with anxiety. What is it about modern living that produces anxiety and what can we do to feel less stressed?

October 30, 2017 By Dr. Fabiana Franco

Featured Listings more listings

Dr. Michael Ascher – Board Certified Psychiatrist in Philadelphia

Dr. Michael Ascher – Board Certified Psychiatrist in Philadelphia

in Anxiety, Addiction, Depression

Dr. Ascher will provide a careful diagnostic evaluation tailored to your individual needs and goals and make detailed treatment recommendations so that medications and psychotherapy are prescribed only if necessary.

Retorno-Prevention and Treatment of Addiction

Retorno-Prevention and Treatment of Addiction

in Addiction, Residential Treatment

Retorno is the largest Jewish organization in the world for the prevention and treatment of addictions. Our main drug rehab facility is located in Israel.

Margot Esther Borden

Margot Esther Borden

in Career Counseling, Stress, Anxiety

If conventional therapy has left you unsatisfied, working with Margot, in person or online, you will experience a completely different approach. “Integral Psychology” treats you as a whole person with physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

U Can Achieve

U Can Achieve

in Residential Treatment

If your son has not succeeded in traditional academic environments, we may be the best answer for changing his direction and putting him on the path to a better life. We are here to facilitate your teenager or young adult's successful transition.