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Learn What the Top 10 Most Abused Prescription Drugs Are

If you are on this site, chances are, either you or a loved one are showing signs of addiction. Researching is a great step toward getting the help needed to recover from an addiction, whether an addiction to one of the most abused prescription drugs or any drug. Prescription drug abuse symptoms and prescription drug abuse effects will be present if the drugs are being abused. 

3 Minute Read | Published Sep 20 2023 | Updated Mar 06 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Knowing what the most abused prescription drugs are will help you spot an addiction in a loved one or yourself

Top 10 Most Abused Prescription Drugs: Prescription Drug Abuse Symptoms

  1. OxyContin (Oxycodone): this drug is an opioid, which is used to treat severe to moderate pain. Addicts seek the euphoric, pleasurable high, sedative, and pain relieving effects. Users take the drug by either crushing it and snorting it, diluting it in water to inject it, or it is taken orally. Possible signs of prescription drug abuse effects include, lethargy, pinpoint pupils, slowed speech, stoned appearance, and lack of interest in things that once excited them.
  1. Xanax (Alprazolam): Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is used to typically treat panic disorders and anxiety. Addicts seek the sedative and euphoric effects. The pill can be taken orally, crushed and snorted, or injected. Signs of abuse include: slurred speech, short-term memory loss, confusion, slow movements, loss of appetite, and loss of coordination.
  1. Adderall (Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine): is a stimulant which is used to treat (ADD) Attention Deficit Disorder, and (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as narcolepsy. Addicts seek the stimulant effects. These pills are taken as the above mentioned. Prescription drug abuse symptoms include: dilated pupils, hyperactivity, weight loss, loss of appetite, extreme energy, delusions, hallucinations and more.
  1. Ritalin (Methylphenidate): is a stimulant that is used to treat (ADD) Attention Deficit Disorder, (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as narcolepsy. Ritalin can be likened to Adderall.
  1. Vicodin (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen): is an opioid which is used to treat severe to moderate pain.  Addicts will seek the pain relieving, euphoric, and sedative effects. Addicts take the pill by crushing and snorting it. Some possible visible signs of Vicodin use and abuse are stoned appearance, lethargy, constipation, pinpoint pupils, and loss of appetite.
  1. Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen): is an opioid that is used to treat severe to moderate pain. This is likened to Vicodin– see Vicodin for abuse signs.
  1. Valium (Diazepam): is a benzo or benzodiazepine which is typically used to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and muscle spasms. Addicts seek both the sedative effects and euphoric high. The pills are taken orally, injected, or snorted. Some of the signs of Valium addiction may include dilated pupils, slurred speech, slow movements, and loss of coordination.
  1. Ambien (Zolpidem): is a short-acting, somewhat, sedative-hypnotic hybrid that is used to treat insomnia. Addicts typically take the pill and stay awake past the point of which one is supposed to fall asleep– creating a very sought after high. Some signs of Addiction to Ambien are lethargy, lack of coordination, short-term memory loss, hallucinations, and delusions.
  1. Promethazine/Codeine Syrup: is an opiate and antihistamine cough suppressant that is used to treat the symptoms of a cold, upper respiratory infections, and allergies. A few possible symptoms of prescription drug abuse to Codeine include pinpoint pupils, lethargy, constipation, slurred speech, and muscle twitches.
  1. Phenobarbital: is a barbiturate that is meant to be used as an anticonvulsant and sedative hypnotic. Addicts showing signs of Phenobarbital use will seem lethargic, dizzy, uncoordinated, have very little ability to concentrate, and short-term memory loss.

Getting Help if someone you Love is Showing Prescription Drug Abuse Effects

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to any of the drugs mentioned here, please don’t wait to seek help. Taken too long or too much can be deadly. Stop addiction in its track and call Better Addiction Care at (800) 429-7690 and let us help you with your search for rehab centers.


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