Most Abused Prescription Drugs
A National Institute on Drug Abuse 2010 study reports that about 7 million (2.7 percent) of Americans annually abuse prescription drugs. This abuse usually arises when a person takes medicine not prescribed to them or takes more of their own medication than is recommended by their doctor. Unfortunately, most abused prescription drugs are used by young people who have easier access to these drugs than to other more â€œillicitâ€ drugs such as cocaine or heroin. The most abused prescription drugs can be grouped into three categoriesâ€”Opioids (or pain relievers), Depressants, and Stimulants.
Opioids are usually prescribed for pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. They account for over two-thirds of prescription drug abuse. The most abused of these prescription drugs are Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, Demerol, Percocet, and Darvocet. These drugs are used typically for the euphoria they create.
Vicodin is still considered the most abused of prescription drugs in the United States. It creates a sense of euphoria but quickly leads to intense withdrawal symptoms such as agitations, sleeplessness, sweating, anxiety, and depression.
OxyContin has been dubbed â€œHill Billy Heroinâ€ because its effects are so similar to Heroin. OxyContin is designed to be a time release pain killer, but many abusers crush the drug and snort it or mix it with a liquid and inject it, instantly releasing all of the drugâ€™s ingredients at once into their system. This leads not only to intense highs but also to frequent overdoses. Recently, OxyContin has been manufactured with a formula that makes it harder to abuse.
Opana (oxymorphone) is the rising favorite on the list of most abused prescription drugs, particularly as OxyContin is becoming more useless to drug abusers. Its euphoria is said to surpass that of OxyContin and even Heroin.
Depressants are typically prescribed to reduce anxiety or insomnia. The most abused prescription drugs in this category are Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. The desired effects of these drugs are usually reduced anxiety, lowered inhibitions, sedation, or a feeling of well-being. People often seek these drugs to sedate themselves to the point where they feel they can cope with their lives and often mix them with alcohol for a more deeply depressive state. Females most commonly abuse this category of prescription drugs. Accidental overdoses are quite common.
Medically prescribed stimulants are used to temporarily improve alertness, focus, or productivity in response to a disorder such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). They may also be used to relieve anxiety or improve a personâ€™s mood. The most abused prescription drugs in this category are Adderall, Ritalin, Amphetamines, and Dexedrine. Drug abusers typically seek stimulants for the feelings of exhilaration, increased energy, mental alertness, and brain functioning they can create. These drugs are often used by students or truckers that need to stay awake for prolonged periods of time. These drugs cause dangerous side effects such as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems.
If you or someone you know has a problem with the abuse of prescription drugs, please contact us to find help.