What’s Prescription Drug Abuse?

Abuse of prescription drugs is when somebody takes a medicine which was prescribed for somebody else or consumes their own prescription in such a way that isn’t intended by a physician or for a different reason—such as getting high.

Such abuse has become a massive health problem due to the dangers, especially the harm of abusing prescription pain medicines. For teenagers, it’s a growing issue:

  • After alcohol and marijuana, prescription drugs include the most typically misused substances by people in the U.S. aged 14 and up.
  • Teenagers misuse prescription drugs for numerous reasons, like to stop pain, get high, or because they believe it’ll assist them with their school work.
  • The majority of teenagers obtain prescription drugs from relatives and friends, occasionally without that person’s knowledge.

As prescription drugs are used as directed, they usually are safe. It’ll require a trained health care professional, like a nurse or doctor, to decide if the upsides of consuming the medication outweigh the side effect risks. However, when abused and consumed in different quantities or for different reasons other than as prescribed, they’ll affect the body and brain in a way that is similar to illicit drugs. 

As prescription drugs are misused, they may become addictive and place the individual at risk for additional dangerous health effects, like overdose (particularly while taken alongside alcohol or other drugs). In addition, misusing prescription drugs is illegal- including sharing prescriptions with any friends or family members.

Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs

There will include three types of prescription drugs which are commonly misused:

  • Opioids—painkillers such as codeine, OxyContin, or Vicodin
  • Depressants—such as the ones used to alleviate anxiety or assist an individual to sleep, like Xanax or Valium
  • Stimulants—such as the ones used in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), like Ritalin and Adderall