Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse

What is prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drugs (Rx) are medications prescribed by authorized medical personnel. Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can cause serious health effects, including addiction and is the fastest growing drug problem, especially among teens, in the United States today. Abusing prescription drugs is illegal, including sharing prescriptions with friends.

What are the most commonly abuse prescription drugs?

Three main classes of prescription drugs that are abused include: opioids (usually prescribed for pain and include Vicodin, OxyContin, Darvon, Dilaudid, Demerol and Lomotil); Central Nervous System Depressants (usually prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders and include Nembutal, Valium and Xanax); and Stimulants (usually prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy and include Dexedrine, Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta).

What are some common street names for prescription drugs?

Oxy, Cotton, Blue, 40, 80, Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, Uppers

What are the negative health effects of prescription drugs?

Abusing prescription drugs is not safer than abusing illicit drugs. Prescription drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drugs when not taken as directed. Abusers of prescription drugs are at risk of adverse health effects especially when taken with other drugs or alcohol. Some health effects include:

  • Death
  • Depressed breathing
  • Seizures      
  • Convulsions
  • Paranoia
  • Constipation
  • Slowed heart rate   
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dangerously high body temperatures           
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent/erratic behavior      
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability

How can prescription drugs harm my baby during pregnancy or breast feeding?

Some medications are safe to take during pregnancy, but many can cause these harmful effects if abused:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Severe birth defects
  • Fetal addiction syndrome
  • Mental or physical development challenges later in life

What are the warning signs of prescription drug abuse?

Watch for these signs of prescription drug abuse. Some abusers of prescription drugs do not exhibit warning signs.

  • Missing medications from family members
  • Dramatic changes in appearance
  • Dramatic changes in behavior
  • Excessive over‐the‐counter medicine use
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Always looking for money
  • Continued use of the prescription drug
  • Missing valuables

What can parents do?

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs
  • Know your child's friends
  • Supervise your child's activities
  • Monitor prescription medication in the home
  • Lock up medications
  • Monitor where your children spend time and their surroundings
  • Properly dispose of unused and expired medications

Resources:

Operation Medicine Cabinet™

Access to Oakland County Community Mental Health Substance Use Services - 248‐858‐5200

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Alcoholics Anonymous 248‐332‐3521

Alanon 248‐706‐1020

Narcotics Anonymous 248‐543‐7200

Program and Prevention Information 248‐858‐0001

Treatment Information PACE 1‐888‐350‐0900, ext. 85200