Addiction A-Z

Prescription medication

Whenever a drug has the ability to alter the mind (what are called psychoactive qualities), it has the potential to be abused. That includes some medications that are legitimately prescribed by a physician. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances in American, after marijuana and alcohol. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many people think prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s not the case. When a prescription drug is taken not as a doctor prescribed —meaning too much, too little, at the wrong time, for the wrong ailment, for the wrong patient, or accompanied by the wrong substances — prescription meds can be risky business. They are especially dangerous when combined with other drugs like alcohol or when snorted or injected. Prescription drugs that are most often abused include opioid pain relievers — which cause more deaths than all illegal drugs combined, according to the CDC. They include:

  • Fentanyl (brand name: Duragesic)
  • Hydrocodone (brand name: Vicodin)
  • Oxycodone (brand name: OxyContin)
  • Oxymorphone (brand name: Opana)
  • Propoxyphene (brand name: Darvon)
  • Hydromorphone (brand name: Dilaudid)
  • Meperidine (brand name: Demerol)
  • Diphenoxylate (brand name: Lomotil)

Other medications that are commonly abused include stimulants:

  • Dextroamphetamine (brand name: Dexedrine)
  • Methylphenidate (brand name: Concerta, Ritalin)
  • Amphetamines (brand name: Adderall)

And depressants for anxiety relief:

  • Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
  • Diazepam (Valium®)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax®)
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