Prescription Drug Abuse

Image of various pills - prescription drug abusePrescription drug abuse is a serious problem for millions of people. It involves the use of prescription medication without having a prescription for it. It also involves using the medication in ways other than prescribed. Millions of people from all walks of life and occupations are abusing or are addicted to prescription drugs and are using them for recreational purposes or self-medication. In young people prescription drug abuse is associated with more cigarette smoking, binge drinking and the use of illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.

Why are prescription drugs abused?

Prescription drugs are readily available and easy to access. They are relatively inexpensive as well. It is not hard to get prescription drugs from friends, relatives, the internet, drug dealers on the street or through pharmacy theft. Prescription drug abusers, especially young people, sometimes believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs. That is a misconception. The abuse of some prescription drugs can lead to serious addiction, bringing with it all of the devastating effects of illegal drug addiction.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse involves drugs that fall into one of three categories. The three categories of drugs that are the most frequently abused are sedatives and tranquilizers, pain killers and stimulants. Some commonly abused drugs in each of the three categories include:


  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Halcion
  • Phenobarbital
  • Klonopin

Pain Killers

  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Lorcet
  • Demerol
  • Norco
  • Lortab
  • Dilaudid


  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Methamphetamines
  • Phentermine
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine

Solutions & Treatment

Addressing prescription drug abuse should involve extensive education for professionals, parents, adults and young people about all aspects of prescription drug abuse. Prescribers and pharmacies must be stringent in monitoring their patients and watching for signs of prescription drug abuse in their clients. Prescription drug abuse treatment centers should offer multi-dimensional programs, and medications when appropriate, that are aimed at targeting this specific population of drug users.