The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
Prescription pills are legal if prescribed by a doctor for a serious medical condition. But just because a pill can be prescribed by a doctor, doesn’t mean it is safe. It is especially unsafe when used not-as-prescribed. In the U.S., misuse of prescription pills is the cause of more than 16,000 deaths annually. That number is more than five times the number of annual heroin deaths. The statistic is sobering – and health professionals call the overuse and illegal use of prescription pills a “health epidemic of epic proportions”. Some of the most abused prescription drugs include dangerous opiates and amphetamines, which can be a powerful and dangerous as drugs such as heroin and meth.
Types of Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
The most widely abused pharmaceuticals fall into three categories:
- Opioids: Opiate drugs produce an immediate euphoric effect and are often prescribed by doctors for patients to help manage severe short-term or chronic pain.
- Central nervous system depressants: These drugs are also known as tranquillizers and depressants and include barbiturates and benzodiazepines. They have a calming, relaxing effect on the brain and body.
- Stimulants: This class of prescription drug increases brain activity, alertness and energy. These drugs include prescription drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder.
In these categories, there are certain drugs that are most likely to be abused and sold on the street at a high mark-up. Here are some of the most common “brand name” prescription drugs that make their way to the streets:
- Xanax: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat panic disorder and clinical anxiety. It calms a person down by depressing their central nervous system. In people who do not have serious anxiety or panic disorders, Xanax is a strong sedative, and provides a relaxed and “zoned out” feeling. It is often combined with other drugs to heighten their affect
- Klonopin & Valium: Like Xanax, Klonopin and Valium are used for their sedative effect. The “high” on Valium or Klonopin can be comparable to alcohol, though much stronger lower inhibitions and heighten relaxation.
- Oxycodone: Oxycodone is commonly prescribed or sold as OxyContin and Percocet. It is an opioid that changes the way a person’s brain and central nervous system respond to pain. In blocking pain receptors, Oxycodone creates a euphoric, sedative effect. Because of this reaction, many drug users compare it to heroin. Since Oxycodone can sell for up to hundreds of dollars a pill, addicts often turn to heroin for a cheaper high.
- Demerol & Darvocet: Much like Oxycodone, Demerol and Darvocet block pain and create a euphoric and sedative effect. These commonly abused painkillers are extremely potent, extremely dangerous and incredibly easy to overdose on.
- Codeine: Codeine is most commonly abused in cough syrup form. When consumed in high quantities, Codeine-based cough syrup has a sedative effect and can cause altered levels of consciousness.
- Amphetamines: Amphetamines are prescribed for conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. In people without these conditions, these drugs are used to provide a burst of energy and focus. They can be dangerous and habit-forming.
Finding Help: Drug Rehabilitation Facility
If you suspect someone you love is abusing prescription medications, it’s important to get them help, such as drug counseling or inpatient drug rehab. Looking for the best drug treatment? Los Angeles’ The Hills Treatment Center is a drug detox and drug rehabilitation center that has a proven success record in the treatment of and recovery from prescription pill addiction. To learn more about the outpatient and inpatient drug rehab options at The Hills Treatment Center, visit our web site for an informative consultation.