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Prescription Drug Addiction: What Everyone Should Know

Photo of an overturned bottle of pills with the pills spilling out. Text: Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction

According to Georgetown University, “More than 131 million people – 66 percent of all adults in the United States – use prescription drugs.” Many are older and regardless of age, a significant amount of people are using the drugs appropriately to treat medical conditions.

Not all prescription drugs have the same potential for abuse and addiction. Further, not everyone with a prescription to a higher risk drug will necessarily misuse it. Still, a large amount of people misuse and abuse prescription drugs. It is possible they are doing so with their own prescription, a prescription of a friend or family member, or buying from a stranger.

Prescription Drugs

Some of the more common prescription drugs that are abused include opioid painkillers, like Oxycontin and Hydrocodone, benzos like Xanax and Valium, and stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. 

The risk of abuse for drugs like these is higher than others. While the effects may vary by substance, for some they provide a euphoric feeling and are highly addictive. This makes it incredibly difficult for someone to stop using the substance on their own.

Tolerance and Overdose

As a person continues to use a drug, their body begins to build up a tolerance. This means they need to use a higher dose to experience the same effects. 

This is incredibly dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose and death. Overdose does not always result in death, but it can still leave someone with damaging long-term effects. 

Furthermore, if someone combines substances they are substantially increasing risk of overdose and death. Per the NIH, “In 2019, 16 percent of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines.”

Prescription drug addiction is difficult to overcome alone and potentially dangerous. It is best to seek professional medical guidance for the safest and most comfortable treatment.