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Prescription Drug Abuse
As Addictive and Dangerous as Illegal Street Drugs. Get the Facts.
Prescription medications were developed with specific uses in mind, and can be very effective in treating individuals with the medical need for these medications; however, using these drugs without the supervision of a physician or for purposes different from their intended use can lead to serious adverse consequences, including death from overdose and physical addiction. Because many prescription drugs are often opiate based, When abused, some prescription drugs can be as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs. Which prescription drug will be the most abused changes every so often, the prescription drug that is currently the most problematic is oxycontin, a strong opiate based painreliver. Fortunately there are great centers for oxycontin treatment like Pat Moore Foundation. According to the office of Drug Control Policy, in 2006 abuse of prescription pain killers abuse now ranks second — only behind marijuana — as the Nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem.
There are three main categories of commonly abused prescription medications: CNS stimulants, CNS depressants, and narcotic analgesics:
- Central nervous system stimulants are used to treat a variety of disorders including: the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) belong to this class of drugs. CNS stimulants enhance brain activity and increase alertness and energy, elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Very high doses can lead to irregular heartbeat and high body temperature. Prolonged abuse may lead to addiction and CNS damage.
- Central nervous system depressants are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. They slow down normal brain function and can cause a sleepy, uncoordinated feeling in the beginning of treatment. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Examples of CNS depressants are Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam).
- Narcotic analgesics or painkillers(opiates) are used to treat pain and are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Demerol (meperidine) are a few types of commonly abused opioid narcotics. In the short term, these drugs block pain messages and cause drowsiness. A large single dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. Long-term use leads to physical dependence and, in some cases, addiction.