Prescription drug abuse

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Prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor. Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high. Drug abuse may become ongoing and compulsive, despite the negative consequences.

An increasing problem, prescription drug abuse can affect all age groups, including teens. The prescription drugs most often abused include opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and stimulants.

Early identification of prescription drug abuse and early intervention may prevent the problem from turning into an addiction.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse depend on the specific drug. Because of their mind-altering properties, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

Opioids used to treat pain, for example medications containing oxycodone — such as Oxycontin and Percocet — and those containing hydrocodone — such as Norco

Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), and hypnotics, such as zolpidem (Ambien), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders

Stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others), dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall XR, Mydayis), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain sleep disorders

  • Unsteady walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing
  • Increased alertness
  • Feeling high
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Unsteady walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing
  • Increased alertness
  • Feeling high
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive mood swings or hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Poor decision-making
  • Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated
  • Requesting early refills or continually “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written
  • Seeking prescriptions from

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