Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription DrugsPrescription drugs are often thought to be safe to take and non-addictive because they are medicines prescribed by doctors. However, there is a growing figure of people becoming addicted to prescription drugs even when taking the prescribed doses recommended. Once the prescription is finished, a person may start to experience an urge or craving to take more. Withdrawal symptoms may start to kick in and those can make a person feel really sick. They might find that taking more of the drug helps them feel better until it wares off. Next thing you know they’re trapped in a cycle of addiction.

Who Takes Prescription Drugs?

Not only are people who are prescribed prescription drugs for pain and other purposes taking these, but many young teenagers and adults are illegally taking prescription drugs. They may get them from friends or steal them out of medicine cabinets or buy them off the streets. Around 2,500 youth nationwide start taking prescription drugs for the first time everyday. About six million Americans abuse prescription drugs annually.

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Overdose from Prescription Drug Abuse

More than likely, you’ve seen on the news, one too many celebrities losing their lives due to prescription drug overdose. Not only is this occurring with our celebrities, but every year, 47,000 people die from a drug overdose, mostly from prescription pain medications.

Taking more prescription drugs than prescribed and or mixing them with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of an overdose. Keep prescription drugs out of the reach of anyone. You never know who can accidentally take them or intentionally take them. If you have unused, expired or extra prescription drugs, you can safely dispose of them by bringing them to your nearest drug store and placing them in a prescription drug drop box.

Different Types of Prescription Drugs and their Effects

There are many different types of prescription drugs that are prescribed to people for a number of reasons. Even though many of them look alike, each type causes a different effect and when mixing them together or taking more than prescribed can be fatal.

Common Types of Prescription Drugs that are Abused and their Harmful Effects


Depressants are also known as “downers” which slow down the brain function. These are used to make a person calm and to reduce tension or anxiety. They can make a person feel drowsy or sleepy.

Some short-term effects of depressants include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dilated pupils

Depressants are addictive. High doses can impair memory, coordination and judgement and even trigger irritability, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Though depressants are intended to calm a person down, they can have an opposite effect on people which causes them to get agitated or aggressive.

Opioids and Morphine Derivatives

These are often referred to as painkillers, pain meds or pain pills and are used to relieve pain. They contain opium or opium-like substances. A person may feel numb to pain while using these, but once the numbness wares off, the pain may be amplified.

Some short-term effects of opioids and morphine derivatives include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Coma

People who continue to use or abuse opioids will develop an addiction and will need to use more and more to achieve the same “high” effect. When the person tries to quit, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms which can include insomnia, cold flashes, muscle and bone pain, vomiting and diarrhea.


Stimulants, which are also known as “uppers,” temporarily speed a person up, or in other words, increase a person’s energy and alertness as well as a person’s blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.

Some short-term effects of stimulants include:

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Drained

A person can become addicted to stimulants over a short period of time and start to reveal feelings of paranoia and hostility. The abuse of stimulants can lead to an irregular heart beat and dangerously high body temperatures.


Antidepressants are psychiatric drugs made to supposedly handle depression. People may temporarily feel happier, but reports have shown that people have expressed aggressive and violent behavior while being prescribed these drugs.

Effects of antidepressants can include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide
  • Violent thoughts and actions
  • Confusion
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Nervousness
  • Psychosis

Antidepressants are addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms that include depression, aggression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, “zap” sensations in the brain and suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that people on antidepressants have acted out in extreme irrational behavior resulting in violence, attempted murder and murder for no apparent reason. None had any previous history of violence.

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Prescription Pain Relievers can Lead to Heroin Use

Prescription Drugs to HeroinMany people who started off taking pain relievers for either prescription use or for recreational use eventually started using heroin. Studies show that 1 in 15 people who take non medical prescription pain relievers will try heroin within 10 years.

Many Narconon Fresh Start graduates who started off taking prescription drugs for an injury ended up using heroin.

Watch a video testimonial of how Faith and Jim’s son was prescribed OxyContin which eventually lead to heroin use and how the Narconon Fresh Start program helped him get his life back. Overcoming OxyContin and Heroin Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse Help

If you or a loved one need help with prescription drug abuse, call a Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab specialist at 855-734-2223 today.

Watch prescription drug recovery videos.