Prescription Medical Detox
Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in prescription drug misuse or abuse. This increase has led to a corresponding increase in ER visits because of accidental overdoses as well as admissions to drug treatment programs for drug addictions.
Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease. It causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the addicted person as well as the people around that person. The abuse of drugs — even prescription drugs — leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain.
For most people, the initial decision to take prescription drugs is voluntary or recommended by a Doctor. Over a period of time, however, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse affect a person’s self control and ability to make sound decisions. While this is going on, the person continues to experience intense impulses to take more drugs.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused include:
- Opiates or Opioids used to treat pain
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
- Stimulants, such as Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine (Adderall) or Methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin) used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder)
How Do Opioids Work on the Brain and Body?
Since the early 1990s, doctors’ prescriptions for opioid medications — such as codeine and morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS-Contin, Ora-Morph SR) — have greatly increased. That increase can be attributed to an aging population and a greater prevalence of chronic pain. Other drugs in this class include:
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
- Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyFast, Roxicodone)
- Oxycodone with acetaminophen (Roxicet, Endocet,Percocet)
- Oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)
When used long-term, opiates opioids may lead to drug abuse with physical dependence and/or addiction. Opiates can also be life threatening in an overdose. When they are taken with substances that depress the central nervous system — including alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines such as Alprazolam (Xanax), (Klonopin), or Diazepam (Valium) — there is a greatly increased risk of respiratory failure,major depression even death.
Opioids induce a euphoric feeling that’s usually mild. However, opiates such as OxyContin are sometimes inappropriately snorted or injected to increase the euphoric effects.