Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs in the USA

Commonly abused prescription drugs in the USA

Have you noticed a sudden increase in prescription drug addiction cases? Drug abuse is frequently related to drugs such as marijuana and heroin, but it is not limited to illegal drugs of the sort. Research has shown that the most commonly abused drugs are legal prescription drugs. These drugs are given to help relieve patients of whatever medical problems they might have. However, what people fail to realize is the fact that these drugs that help ease their pain, if not used properly can also be addictive.

Prescription drug abuse is the misuse of drugs that was initially prescribed to treat or soothe a medical condition. When these prescription drugs are used in a way that was not intended by the doctor, the situation becomes problematic, and if not recognized and treated on-time can turn into an addiction. Drug addictions are ruthless. The person who is addicted fully understands the negative impact the addiction has on their lives, but they no longer have any control over their needs and wants.

Different drugs are prescribed for different cases. The prescription drug may not necessarily have the same effect on everyone. This is why it is essential for the doctor to examine the patient carefully.

Frequently Abused Drugs

Some drugs are prone to abuse more than others due to their easy accessibility. These drugs are commonly present in just about every household. A few types of frequently abused prescription drugs, their uses, and the risk of addiction associated with them are described here.


Opioids are drugs that are used to treat pains. For this reason, they are commonly known as pain relievers. These pain relievers can legally be prescribed. The medicines contain oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, and other such medications that help relieve pain.

Specific symptoms are indicative of the misuse of opioids. These symptoms may include:

  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Breathing problems
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • An Increased dosage for pain relief
  • increased sensitivity to pain with higher doses

This prolonged drug abuse, which turns into addiction, may lead to severe conditions such as reduced blood pressure and breathing rate, which ultimately increases the risk of heart failure. People abusing opioid drugs are at a higher risk of falling into a coma as well. Most opioid overdoses lead to death.

Read more about prescription drugs commonly abused here.

Sedatives and anti-anxiety medications

These medications are used to treat conditions such as sleep disorders, anxiety, and psychological disorders. They help relieve the symptoms of these disorders that cause restlessness. In the case of anxiety, they relax the muscles, whereas, in the case of insomnia, they induce sleep. Examples of these include Valium, Ambien, Xanax.

Symptoms indicative of the misuse of these drugs may include:

  • Lesser control over thoughts leading to confusion
  • Shaky gait
  • Stammer in speech
  • Breathing problems
  • Problem remembering things
  • Lethargy

Abuse of sedatives can lead to fatalities. It is reported to have caused decreased blood pressure in people abusing these drugs. Memory loss, slowed breathing rates have also been reported to be associated with the abuse of the drug. The overdose of sedatives may cause coma or even death. If an addict abruptly stops taking the medication, it generally results in nervous system hyperactivity. The withdrawal symptoms include convulsions and seizures.


These medications are used to treat conditions such as ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and sleep-related disorders. Examples of stimulants include methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, and amphetamine.

Symptoms that indicate abuse of such drugs include:

  • Increase in the alertness of the individual
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Heightened alertness and vigilance of the individual
  • Feeling high

The abuse of stimulants results in extremely high body temperature and pressure. It can also cause heart problems. Addicts of these drugs are prone to hallucinations and aggressive paranoia. High levels of this drug can also lead to tremors, seizures, and convulsions. You can find more information and prescription drug abuse facts here.

The reason people develop such high physical dependence resulting from the abuse of these drugs is that the human body adapts to the changes. It develops a tolerance towards substances after long-term use. This is primarily why the individual misusing the prescription drug has to keep increasing the dosage for it to work. This ultimately leads to addiction. Addictions become a part of the person. Not only do they become physically dependent on it, but they also continue to seek the drug knowing the negative impact it has on their lives.

Other than the medical-related consequences of the abuse of these drugs, these people lose their true selves. These people make poor choices and end up getting into trouble to get their hands on these drugs because they can’t do without them anymore. When they are refused these, they turn to criminal activities. They drain them of any energy they might have.

Some people accidentally fall into the trap of addiction while others seek an out through these easily accessible drugs. The reason for this varies from person to person. Some do it for fun, while others depend on these to relieve stress. The risk of developing an addiction differs among various types of people, as well. A recovering alcoholic or drug addict is more likely to turn back to his old ways than someone who has been prescribed drugs after surgery.

It is thus imperative to follow the doctor’s instructions and not misuse the prescripted drugs. The doctor must also make sure to understand the patient’s condition and prescribe medicines accordingly. If you fear that the prescribed medications might be a little too much, make sure to ask for any alternatives that have a lower risk of addiction.

It is always wise to solve a problem immediately after it is recognized. If you or someone you know has fallen into addiction or is at risk of being addicted to drugs, see a doctor. It might be embarrassing for people to talk to professionals regarding problems of such nature but remember that doctors are trained to help. Always seek help at the earliest so that the problem is solved before it develops into something more serious.







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