Prescription Drugs: The Most Addictive On The Market

prescription drugsPrescription drug abuse is taking our nation by storm. Prescribed by a doctor, administered by a pharmacy—this does not mean they are safe for everyone.[1] For those who actually require their use, and take them as prescribed with caution, these drugs are helpful; however, for those who don’t, they are dangerous.1

The most widely abused prescription drugs fall into three categories: opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants.1 Opioids produce that sought-after euphoric effect due to their pain-killing abilities.1 Tranquilizers, barbituates, and benzodiazepines, central nervous system depressants produce a calming and relaxing effect.1 Simulants increase brain activity, producing alertness and energy.1

Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat panic disorder and high anxiety.1 It works by depressing a person’s abnormal central nervous system.1 However, those who do not have a medical need for the drug enjoy its fast-acting sedation and relaxing effects.1 Xanax is one of the most abused drugs on the market.1

Klonopin and Valium are also benzodiazepines, misused for their sedative effects.1 Their highs are similar to the effects of alcohol, bringing about feelings of drunkenness, talkativeness, and relaxation.1 Extremely addictive, these drugs often cause blackouts and even death by overdose.1 It is not uncommon for benzodiazepines to be used in conjunction with other drugs of abuse.1

Oxycodone, commonly sold as OxyContin and Percocet, is a popular opioid that changes the way the brain and the central nervous system respond to pain.1 When taken, they produce a euphoric and relaxing effect.1 Similar to heroin, oxycodone is a prescription drug that can cost up to hundreds of dollars for one pill.1 Due to the high expense, addicts often have to steal to maintain their habit.1

Demerol and Darvocet are also commonly abused painkillers.1 Users often develop a tolerance to its immediate side effects and need an increased dosage to feel the euphoria when taken.1 However, when stopped, painful withdrawal symptoms kick in.1 In 2010, Darvocet was taken off the market in the United States due to its ability to lead to heart complications.1

Codeine is a prescription medicine that is often combined with other medicines to reduce cough and pain.1 It is commonly found in prescription-strength cough syrup.1 However, when it is taken in high quantities, it has a sedative effect that can cause altered levels of consciousness.1 Popularized in 2000s hip-hop music, it is often used as the base for “purple drank” or “sizzurp,” which is a concoction made with soda and candy.1

Amphetamines, often known as speed, are prescribed to patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, where increasing focus and wakefulness are necessary.1 However, they are often abused by others for their energizing effects.1 Adderall is one of the most common misused amphetamines today, taken by those who need to skip sleep—truck drivers, college students, and shift workers.1 Ritalin is similar to Adderall, affecting the central nervous system by increasing levels of dopamine, which heightens attention in the brain.1 It is extremely habit-forming.1

For those who abuse these extremely addictive prescription drugs, it is important that they find help, such as counseling and rehabilitation.1

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