Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drug

Is
it possible that you or someone you love is addicted to prescription drugs? Most of us take prescription drugs only for the reason the doctor intended. But the National Institute on Drug Abuse says about 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetime. That figure represents approximately 20% of the U.S. population.

In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in prescription drug misuse or abuse. This increase has led to more ER visits because of accidental overdoses and more admissions to treatment programs for drug addictions.

What Is a Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that often happens again. It causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful effects on the addicted person and the people around that person. The abuse of drugs — even prescription drugs — leads to changes in how the brain looks and works.

For most people, the first decision to take prescription drugs is voluntary. But over time, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse affect a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions. While this is going on, the person continues to have intense impulses to take more drugs.

Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused are:

  • Opioids used to treat pain
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, ), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
  • Stimulants, such as amphetamine and  (Adderall) or  (Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin), used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder).

How Do Opioids Work on the Brain and Body?

Since the early 1990s, doctors’ prescriptions for opioid medications — such as codeine and morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph SR) — have greatly risen. That increase can be attributed to an aging population and more widespread chronic pain. Other drugs in this class include:

  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER)
  • Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine ()
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyFast, Roxicodone)
  • Oxycodone with acetaminophen (Roxicet, Endocet, Percocet)
  • Oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)
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