Prescription Drug Abuse – Just the Facts


Prescription drugs are provided to patients suffering from an array of health conditions, from high blood pressure to chronic pain. These substances are tested, approved and regulated to help promote safe and effective treatment among users. When these drugs are used in an excessive manner, they can prove harmful – and potentially addictive.

Prescription drug addiction often occurs in particular medicine groups, including stimulants, central nervous system depressants and narcotic pain medications, though it is not limited by these classes.


Adolescents are found to abuse prescription drugs more than cocaine, meth and heroin combined. Though many people view prescription drugs to be safer than their illegal counterparts, the truth is they are often just as dangerous or even worse.

Pain Medications

Drugs used to treat chronic pain are among the most abused medications due to the euphoric effects provided. They are generally prescribed to address chronic or acute pain and include substances such as Vicodine, OxyContin and Demerol. Users often report feelings of indifference towards stress and life issues, making the drugs all the more appealing. However, those who use these drugs for long enough periods will ultimately build a tolerance – requiring more of the medication to achieve the same initial effect.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Central nervous system depressants are often utilized to address sleep disorders and anxiety. Common examples include Xaally develop a tolerance and addiction following prolonged use. Recreational use and fatality is just as common in depressant users as with pain medications.


Stimulants work to excite the brain, causing increased energy and alertness. They are generally prescribed to patients suffering from sleep disorders, such as ADHD and narcolepsy. Stimulant use may result in malnutrition through a decrease in appetite, in addition to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Those who use stimulants may become addicted to the sense of energy and well-being they experience, though excess use may result in hostility and paranoia.

Signs of Addiction

Intense cravings are perhaps the most common sign of addiction in prescription users. Weight fluctuations and mood swings may also signal a larger issue. Users who have taken prescription medications regularly and stop taking them abruptly will often experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms, ranging from nausea and stomachaches to tremors, fever and sleep issues. Prescription drug withdrawal can be a difficult process and should be monitored by a medical professional to ensure a safe and healthy transition into sobriety.