How a Prescription Drug Can Lead to Addiction

Know about medications on the top abused prescription drugs list and how they can lead to addiction

It is a sad, but true realization that prescription drug abuse is the leading cause of drug deaths in the U.S.  Prescription drugs are causing more deaths than vehicular accidents, illicit drug overdose, suicide, homicide and alcohol-related liver disease. Millions of people are abusing prescription drugs every day, and thousands of overdose deaths occur each year.

The statistics are astonishing and expose a massive drug abuse and addiction problem in the U.S. Studies reveal that opioids, depressants and stimulant prescription medications account for 45% of overdose deaths. These medications are often prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain, mental health disorders and other health problems.

Prescription overdose deaths were prevalent in the inner cities but have now expanded to suburban and rural areas of the country. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is urging patients to learn about their medications before taking them, because each person has a different body chemistry that may react differently to the same medications. Sometimes drug information that is given by the media is incorrect, so people should take responsibility for themselves and begin to research the facts on their own. Taking a prescription drug for the first time, even a small dose, can result in dangerous health complications, overdose and death.

Prescription drugs abuse is popular among adolescents and they often trade drugs with their friends at school. Teens are stealing drugs from their home medicine cabinets, or abusing medicine such as Ritalin or Adderall that was prescribed to them. Many teens believe that prescription drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor and are legal. College students are abusing prescription stimulants to focus better and stay awake longer to study and improve scholastic achievement. Athletes are using stimulants to improve athletic performance, and females use the drug to reduce their appetite and lose weight.

Many prescription drugs have a high addiction potential and it won’t take long for abuse to cause the body to build up a tolerance to a drug. Once tolerance develops, the effects of the drug diminish and the user has to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects as before. This continual increase in dosage or time intervals between doses is what leads to addiction. A prescription drugs abuse is the leading cause of addiction, and the prescription drugs list below can help you identify if you are taking any of the most abused drugs.

It is estimated that about 45 people are dying each day from an overdose of prescription drugs in the U.S., with an estimated 4.3 million Americans abusing the drugs annually. Research statistics reveal that 99% of doctors are prescribing opioid medications that exceed the federally recommended dosage of a three day limit. Reported medical emergencies involving prescription drug abuse has increased about 132% in the last seven years. These are staggering statistics that expose a prescription drug abuse epidemic in the U.S.

Below is a prescription drugs list to help you become more aware of what drugs are causing the addiction problems:

  1. Opioid medications that are used to treat chronic pain include: OxyContin, Fentanyl, morphine, Vicodin and codeine. The national Institute on Drug Abuse reports that millions of Americans are abusing these drugs annually.
  2. Stimulants energize the body and improve cognition and attention. Ritalin and Adderall are the most abused stimulant prescription drugs.
  3. Sedatives and Tranquilizers are used to treat anxiety and other health problems. Some of the most abused sedatives are: Xanax, Nembutal, Halcion, Valium, Diazepam, Ambien, Lunesta and Alprazolam.

It is estimated that more than 54 million Americans have abused prescription drugs, and each day 5,000 Americans begin to abuse these drugs. It seems that we Americans have accepted a drug culture as the new normal, and it will take evidence-based treatment programs to help addicts get off of the drugs and change their beliefs about abusing drugs. Laws will also have to be enforced to hold physicians responsible for over-extending prescriptions and doses beyond the legal limit. And we the people will have to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.