Updated on October 1, 2020
Prescription drug abuse is on the decline overall in most recent years however the prescribed medications are still the second most abused category of drugs after marijuana. The decline is partly because some prescription drugs have recently been manufactured in a formula that is much harder to abuse. Seventy percent of people who abused pain relievers got them from friends or relatives willingly or unbeknownst to the person from medicine cabinets or other places in the home.
While the drugs are still readily available from friends and relatives who were originally prescribed the medications they will most likely stay in the top categories of illicit drug use. There are different types of prescriptions that people will abuse, some will become addicted which leads to withdrawal, side effects, and even death.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
Opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants are the top non-medically used prescription medications. Opioids diminish the perception of pain and affect areas in the brain that deal with pleasure which adds to the addictive properties. Opioids include name-brand drugs such as Oxycontin and Percocets.
CNS depressants such as Valium and Xanax slow down activity in the brain leaving people feeling drowsy or calm. Adderall and Ritalin are two of the brands of Stimulants. Stimulants affect brain neurotransmitters that can increase blood pressure and heart rate which allows for a person to feel alert or gain energy temporarily.
When doctors prescribe medications to their patients they take into account factors of each individual patient. Factors that the doctors take into account pertaining to height, weight and other medications that a person may already be prescribed in part to provide the correct dosage to avoid addiction.
Repeat usage of over a period of time changes the body which adapts to the prescription and can result in dependence. People who take a prescription medication without consulting a doctor are most likely to abuse drugs because they don’t take health factors into consideration which leads to addiction due to over usage.
Side Effects of Prescription Drugs
Adults or teen struggling with addiction may find themselves suffering from withdrawal or side effects. If an addicted person doesn’t meet their body’s perceived needed dose they may suffer from symptoms of vomiting, chills, muscle cramps, achy body, and depression. Each drug has different side effects.
Some opioids cause constipation, stimulants raise heart rate and blood pressure, CNS depressants can slow breathing. If one doesn’t have a particular illness or condition a few of the side effects can be dangerous and lead to death. More people are killed in affiliation with prescription medications than all other illegal drugs combined.
Prescription drug abuse will remain popular as long as it is easy for young adults and others to gain access to the medications. To prevent drug abuse, addiction and possibly death everyone should keep count of the pills that are prescribed to them and properly dispose of medications that are no longer being used.