It is entirely possible that one can become addicted to prescription drugs. You may assume that they are assigned only for the reason the doctor prescribed them for an illness. But the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that about 48 million people consume these drugs for non – medical reasons during their lifetime.
Over the past decade, a spike has been witnessed in prescription drug misuse or abuse. This has led to increased ER visits.
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.
There are three main classifications of prescription drugs.
Opioids, that are used to treat pain. CNS depressants, that are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. And lastly, stimulants; that are used to treat sleep disorders, among others.
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)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyFast, Roxicodone)
- Oxycodone with acetaminophen (Roxicet, Endocet, Percocet)
- Oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)