Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

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HHRC-Woman reading prescription, side effect of medication

When prescription or over-the-counter drugs are used for non-medical reasons, they can cause significant health problems such as addiction, dependency, overdose, and death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people dependent on prescription drugs in the United States have reached alarming levels. Over a ten-year span, unintentional overdose mortality surged at an alarming pace, going from 4,000 to 14,800 every year.

Concerning Prescription Drug Abuse

Abused prescription drugs are becoming a significant problem in the United States. Because patients often look for quick solutions to chronic pain, drug addiction and abuse have taken hold across the country. Millions of people have been exposed to highly addictive opioids by unaware doctors and those who are too eager to give them. Opioids are one of the most frequently abused prescription drugs, and they also rank high on the list of the most commonly abused drugs.

Opioids aren’t the only problem with prescription medications. Many medications can lead to other types of substance abuse disorders. These include central nervous system depressants (CNS), such as those that are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Stimulants for ADHD are also included on this list.

Most people believe that a doctor will prescribe medication. However, severe addiction can result from using certain drugs in excess or higher doses than prescribed.

Why do people abuse prescription drugs?

Prescription drugs can be misused by people who believe they will make them happier, help them lose weight, improve their fitness, or even help them study better. It can be easier than street drugs to obtain prescription drugs. Family members and friends might have them. Sometimes the most common prescription drugs can also be sold on the streets like illegal drugs. One in seven surveyed teens admitted to having taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s recommendation.

Prescription drugs are only available to those who have them. This is because the doctor has evaluated these patients and recommended the correct dose of medication for them. They were also instructed by their doctor on how to take the medication and what they should avoid. The doctor is also aware of side effects and can monitor patients.

What drugs are abused?

Which abused prescription drugs are leading to an upsurge in addiction and overdose deaths? Many pharmaceuticals have the potential for misuse, but opioids, stimulants, depressants (sedatives), and dextromethorphan are the most common prescription drugs widely abused in the United States.

These are the different types of prescription drugs commonly abused by people:


Opioids are a class of natural and synthetic substances used to treat pain. If taken strictly as recommended, they can be safe and helpful for treating pain in individuals with injuries, those recuperating from surgery, and those with chronic pain.

Opioids are commonly consumed by mouth (orally). Many opioid medications, such as oxycodone (oxycontin) in a specific formulation, are designed to be time-released. On the other hand, Crushed tablets can be snorted or injected, resulting in a quick release of the chemical and a consequent “high.”

When more dosages of opioid drugs are delivered into the circulation than planned, it leads to a faster addiction to the drug. Abuse of opioids is exceedingly harmful, and it can result in overdose or death.


Sedative hypnotics, especially barbiturates and benzodiazepines, are another class of abused prescription drugs contributing to the rise in overdose deaths in the United States.

  • Barbiturates: This class of drugs is part of the abusable prescription drugs and includes anesthetics, anti-seizure medications, and anxiety and sleep treatments. However, because of the potential for addiction and overdose with these medicines, benzodiazepines have primarily replaced them in treating insomnia and anxiety.
  • Benzodiazepines: They are one of the abusable prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. When benzodiazepines are used with other medicines that might produce drowsiness, such as alcohol, prescription pain medications, or some over-the-counter cold and allergy treatments, they can be extremely dangerous.

A sedative overdose can result in unconsciousness, respiratory failure, and death.


Stimulants are typically used to treat ADHD and sleep disorders, as well as to supplement antidepressants. Stimulants include amphetamines, which are commonly used to boost alertness, focus, and energy levels. Examples of amphetamines include Adderall, Adderall XR, Dextroamphetamine, and Mydasis.

Initially, physicians prescribed stimulants to address a range of medical issues, but as the potential for misuse and addiction became more widely recognized, their usage was drastically restricted.

Stimulants are frequently taken orally when they are overused. Some users, on the other hand, may dissolve the tablets in water and attempt to inject the resulting solution. This has the potential to create vascular issues.

Stimulant misuse is linked to a number of medical risks, the most serious of which are connected to the cardiovascular system. Heart damage or failure, high blood pressure, and rapid or irregular heartbeat are just a few examples. Stimulant abuse can potentially have major mental consequences.

Over-the-counter stimulants, especially cold treatments containing decongestants, offer significant risks. The combo can produce dangerously elevated blood pressure and an erratic pulse.

Today’s Most Abused Drugs Prescribed By Doctors

The opioids, CNS depressions, and stimulants mentioned above are the most frequently prescribed drugs by doctors. As marijuana is legalized for medical purposes, it will also soon be of the most frequently abused prescription drugs. This is a significant shift from marijuana’s status as an illegal street drug. This means that marijuana will be abused more than any other street drug or prescription.

The most frequent entrants to the prescription drug abuse list today are:

Hydrocodone, Morphine, and Fentanyl are all painkillers.

  • Barbiturates like Nembutal
  • Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax
  • Sedative-hypnotics like Ambien
  • Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac and Lexapro, Lexapro, Paxil, and Prozac are all available.
  • Stimulants such as Ritalin, Ritalin, and Adderal, including Mydayis, Ritalin, Ritalin, Ritalin, Ritalin, Adderal, and Ritalin

Some patients abuse the system to obtain the most common prescription drugs. Many of these prescription drugs have turned out to be highly addictive, even though it wasn’t their intention. There is always the possibility of addiction and abuse, even when these drugs are used correctly.

These are the most frequently abused prescription drugs, according to current information, but this is not an exhaustive list. You can also abuse over-the-counter drugs, depending on their content and application.

What are Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTC)?

Commonly abused medications are cough and cold medicine like pseudoephedrine or dextromethorphan and motion sickness pills such as dimenhydrinate. They are different from abused prescription drugs. Any medication you can buy at a drugstore or grocery store without a prescription is called an “over-the-counter drug.”

Industry statistics show that approximately 3.1 million people aged 12-25 have used over-the-counter stimulants and cough syrup to get high without requiring a prescription.

These might not be the most frequently abused drugs or pills in the country, but a growing number seek help for their over-the-counter drug addiction.

Prescription Drug Abuse: Signs

What are the most apparent signs of prescription drug abuse and addiction? While it will vary from one person to another, someone suffering from addiction may experience changes in their moods or behavior. These could include aggression, hostility, and anxiety.

If they are unable to get their prescription filled, they may lose interest and experience withdrawal symptoms. Dependent on their addiction, they may be more or less energetic. The stimulants listed above can give individuals more energy, while anti-anxiety and painkillers may decrease their performance.

People addicted to the most common prescription drugs might also be using more than the recommended dosage. They may attempt to refill their medication faster than their insurance will allow. They may lie to their doctor or create vague symptoms to get more refills.

Prescription Drug Addiction: You Need Proper Help

Treatment in a licensed rehab center for drug addiction is the only way to get out of your addiction to these drugs or any other drugs. You will need to attend a variety of therapies, educational sessions, and support to help you understand your addiction and prevent relapse. For a more stable, productive future, you will also learn critical coping skills, life skills, and communication methods.

At Haven House Recovery Center, we understand your struggle. If you are looking for a Nashville Rehab center, consider contacting us. Our rehab center in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, offers a 12-step program, sponsorship work, individual therapy, bible study, group counseling, and spiritual exercises to help men with addiction recovery.

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