Drug abuse does not just occur with illegal drugs, in fact, prescriptions drugs can also be subject to abuse when someone uses them who is not prescribed the drug or are used in manner not prescribed by a physician.
Many prescription and over the counter drugs in your medicine cabinet could be amongst the most commonly abused drugs.
The Top 10 Commonly Abused Prescription and OTC Drugs
The top 10 prescription and over the counter drugs, most commonly abused, according to WebMD, include:
- Barbiturates; Barbiturates are used to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. These drugs are classified as a type of depressants and work by slowing the brains functioning. These drugs can become addictive and if taken with certain drugs, including alcohol, heart rates and breathing may become slower, ultimately leading to death. The most common barbiturates are Phenobarbital, Seconal and Nembutal.
- Benzodiazepines; the most common benzodiazepines are Valium and Xanax. These drugs, too, are depressants and are used to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, panic attacks, convulsions and short-term sleep disorders. These drugs can cause serious withdrawals.
- Sleep medicines; abused sleep medicines include Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta. These drugs are called nonbenzodiazepines. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these drugs are not as addictive as other depressants, but still can be habit forming.
- Pain relievers; these drugs include codeine and morphine. Morphine is usually used in hospital setting, but can also be prescribed by a physician for severe pain. Codeine is used for milder pains. Types of morphine include Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ormorph and Roxanol. Slang names for morphine include “M” and “Miss Emma”. Street names for codeine include “Captain Cody” and “Cody”.
- Opioid Pain Relievers; These drugs differ from morphine and codeine in the fact that the main ingredient is oxycodone. These drugs include OxyCotin, Percocet, Percodan and Roxicodone. Each of these drugs differs from one another. Percocet contains acetaminophen, whereas Perocodan contains acetaminophen and aspirin. Street names for these drugs include “oxy”, “O.C.”, “oxycotton” for OxyContin, and “percs” for Percocet and Percodan.
- Other Opoids; These drugs include Vicodin, Loratab and Lorcet. These drugs’ main ingredient is opiod hydrocodone. These drugs can cause depressed breathing, drowsiness and constipation. They should only be taken by the patient to whom the drug was prescribed.
- Amphetamines; These include Dexedrine and Adderall. They are classified as stimulants because they increase alertness, attention and energy. They are usually prescribed to those diagnosed with narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or depression. These drugs are appealing to many because they can create a sense of euphoria. Side effects of these drugs include fast or irregular heartbeat, reduced appetite, heart failure, nervousness, insomnia and addiction.
- Methylphenidate; These drugs include Ritalin, Metadate, Methylin and Concerta. They, too, are classified as stimulants. Street names for these drugs are “MPH”, “R-ball”, “Skippy”, “the smart drug” and “vitamin R”. High dosages of this drug can lead to a dangerously high body temperature, an irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular failure and/or a lethal seizure.
- Dextromethorphan (DXM); DXM is the active ingredient in many over the counter cough and cold medicines. DXM is safe when taken as recommended, but in large doses can create a euphoric feeling and lead to impaired judgment. DXM can also cause nausea, vomiting, loss or coordination and increased heart rate. The street names for DXM include “Orange Crush”, “Triple Cs”, “Dex”, “Robo” and “Skittles”.
- Pseudoephedrine; Psuedoephedrine is found in many over the counter cold medicines. It is also used in the making of the illegal drug, methamphetamine, or meth, as it is simply known. Currently, there are laws governing how much of pseudoephedrine one can buy at a time.
What to do about Drug Abuse
If you suspect a loved one is abusing prescription and/or over the counter drugs, the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests calling their hotline at 800-662-HELP to find a treatment center.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America suggests these tips for spotting drug abuse in your children or loved ones:
- Be straightforward and ask them if they are abusing drugs.
- Look for signs and symptoms of drug use
- Learn risk factors for drug use and abuse including family history of addiction or having friends who drink or misuse drugs.
The Strom Law Firm represents individuals in South Carolina with drug crimes. If your or a loved one have been arrested and charged with drug possession, distribution or other drug charges, call the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.