Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

The past decade has witnessed prescription drug abuse soar higher than it has ever been. It is actually the new epidemic. In fact, there are many different types and classes of prescription drugs that are being abused and even scarier is the fact that junior high and high school kids have joined the ranks of our newest addicts. The most common prescription drugs that are abused today are opioids, stimulants, and depressants. Often these pills can be found right in the home but are also easy to get off the street too. These medications are dangerous and highly addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 16 million Americans admitted to abusing prescription drugs in 2010.

The most common abused prescription drugs include:

  • Opioids- These are used for pain relief. These include Vicodin, Morphine, Oxycontin, and Percocet, and Lortab. 
  • Depressants- These are used to relieve anxiety or to enhance sleep. These include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Librium, and Halcion.
  • Stimulants-These are used for obesity, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy. These include Biphetamine, Dexedrine, Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall.

These kinds of prescription drugs are being abused in staggering proportions. The consequences have been more emergency room visits and many fatal overdoses. This is because the pills cause the body to build a tolerance so more and more of the drugs need to be taken to get the same effect as it initially did. This leads to dependence. Dependence then leads to addiction. The good news is that prescription drug abuse can be treated. In order to be effective and successful treatment must include detox, treatment, counseling, and possible medication.

The abuse of prescription drugs is nothing short of a serious public health concern in the U.S. Consider that nearly half of the people ages 12 and up have used prescription drugs for other than what they were intended for during their life. This brings up the fact that according to a survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse more than 9% of middle and high school students have taken Vicodin or Oxycontin without having a prescription. This is because these kinds of pills are so readily accessible. 

To give a better idea of what kind of increase the U.S is dealing with consider that in the decade from 1998 to 2008 there was a 400% increase in the number of people who sought professional treatment for abusing prescription pain killers alone (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2010). In excess of 21 million people have used prescription stimulants that were not prescribed for them; 13 million people have used prescription methamphetamines that were not prescribed to them, and 9 million have used prescription sedatives (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2010). 

The largest age group abusing these prescription drugs is the 26 to 50 year olds, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This age group accounts for some 26 million people. This means that the efforts of the Federal Drug Administration are inadequate. They have been relying on education as a key component of stopping the prescription drug abuse as a way of prevention.  

If you suspect that a loved one might be abusing prescription drugs here are some signs of what to look for: 

  • A change in behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Change is sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite
  • Secretiveness 
  • Dishonesty 

The results of prescription drug abuse are simple, they are deadly. Yet, more people are abusing them than ever before because they are more acceptable, they are more available, and they help to eliminate stress. People also have the common misconception that prescription drugs are safer than illicit street drugs. Some, especially the youngest age group of prescription drug abusers, actually started their habits by simply visiting the medicine cabinets at home and of relatives. Initially, most people start off using these pills occasionally or recreationally but in no time they are using them more often and the tolerance begins. The number of pills has to be increased and soon there is a full blown addiction problem. 

At KLEAN we have a comprehensive treatment plan available for anyone that is abusing prescription drugs regardless of their age. We have experienced counselors and a highly competent medical staff that will tailor a treatment plan designed for success. The number of people that are overdosing from prescription drug abuse is soaring and along with it is the number of fatalities. Don’t let your loved one be one of these statistics. Reach out and accept the help that is waiting for you.

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