Are you or a loved one suffering from symptoms of prescription drug addiction? That’s not surprising when you consider the statistics.
1 in 10 Americans – or 10.2% of the population ages 12 and up – have used illicit drugs in the last month. Prescription medications have infiltrated the well-being of millions of U.S. citizens. They’re easy to access and have less of a stigma than other controlled substances.
If a doctor prescribes it, it must be okay – right?
The answer isn’t always “yes.”
Prolonged use can lead to many health issues, from cardiovascular disease to strokes, cancer, and more. But, even a few cases of illicit drug use can have unfavorable effects on the body and mind.
What are the most addictive prescription drugs on the market right now? And how are they impacting our society?
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Let’s Explore the Dangers of Prescription Drug Addiction
The first on our list is the highly addictive opioid, Oxycodone.
It gets prescribed for pain under strict doctor supervision. Unfortunately, it only increases tolerance for pain instead of treating the pain itself.
All too often, patients find that they can’t – or don’t want to – stop taking the pill. The painkiller is not only addictive, but it’s lethal and overdose is common. It makes users feel they can tolerate more than they can.
In fact, more than 115 people die per day because of opioid overdoses.
Pharmaceutical companies assured medical professionals that it wasn’t addictive. It soon became clear that was a lie. But not until after doctors began prescribing it more, leading to widespread abuse.
Oxy is a dangerous faux heroin that causes anything from respiratory failure to dependence and withdrawal. Even nicknamed “Hillbilly Heroin,” its intense effects mimic those of the recreational opioid.
Ambien is a pill used to treat insomnia.
This medication deserves a place on the list because of its confusing nature. It’s not supposed to be addictive – which may trick some people about its power.
But there is a definite risk of forming a dependence. As the original dosage begins to affect the user less, the dosage may rise.
Addiction is only one side effect to Ambien. But there are many others:
- Psychological effects
- Intoxication, or high
- Memory Loss
Because of the risk of memory loss, many users forget details of their nights when taking Ambien. This offers a whole other health and safety risk.
Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid. It contributes a great deal to the current opioid crisis. You may have heard the name in the news, as it killed the singer, Prince.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that more than 33,000 Americans died in 2015 because of opioid abuse. One of the major players was the illicitly-made Fentanyl.
The high is powerful, potent, and easy to overdose on.
Demerol, also called Meperidine, is – you guessed it – an opioid. And like the others, the odds of addiction are very high.
Also, like the other opioids, it has dangerous side effects. It causes respiratory problems like slowness of breath and heartbeat. And pregnant women who use the drug put their children at risk of addiction and withdrawals.
Have you gotten prescribed Demerol?
Patients should only use it for the specific amount of time and dose discussed with the doctor. And addicts should seek alternative forms of pain relief.
Adderall gets prescribed for those who suffer from ADHD.
Adderall is an amphetamine or stimulant. It helps users concentrate or stay awake. It is also commonly abused and/or used for recreational purposes.
Those who suffer from addiction issues have a higher risk of addiction to Adderall. And because withdrawal symptoms do occur, users can have a hard time coming off the drug.
Xanax, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, is a benzodiazepine.
It has calming effects on the body and mind. Unfortunately – because of the dopamine-release that comes with using – it has a high risk for abuse.
The NIDA found that Xanax misuse contributed to 150,000 emergency room visits in 2015.
Here we have another addictive benzodiazepine or benzo.
It gets prescribed to treat muscle spasms, anxiety, and seizures. But as concern for over-prescribing rises, so do the cases of addiction or overdose. Part of this is because of the withdrawal symptoms that patients face when trying to come off the drug.
Not only is Valium one of the top 5 prescribed benzos, but it is the 3rd most abused tranquilizer.
Klonopin offers the same calming effects as its benzo counterparts Xanax and Valium. These tranquilizers all have similar negative effects and risk of addiction or abuse.
Although it can get prescribed for legitimate reasons, abuse isn’t hard to come by. After developing a tolerance, users find it hard to wean themselves off. It becomes harder to continue using the originally prescribed dosage.
Benzos are not only toxic, but they’re also widely available. And when mixed with other drugs or alcohol, they’re even more dangerous than when used alone.
Vicodin is a combination of a narcotic, hydrocodone, and a non-narcotic, acetaminophen. It gets prescribed to treat pain – but like other pain relievers, the risk of tolerance and/or abuse is high.
Here is where addiction treatment has gone awry.
Suboxone is a drug made to help victims of opioid addiction. But the sad fact is that it’s an addictive substance all on its own.
Used to manage pain, users tend to become addicted for the same reasons they did opioids. The pain-free high is like opioids – with an even longer life.
The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs? For Addicts, The Answer Is Difficult
Because it encompasses a lot more than this list.
These are only some of the most addictive prescription drugs on the market. This is far from all-inclusive.
Many medications not listed here are still as addictive and destructive. Take special care to research any and all drugs prescribed by a doctor.
If you need any more information to keep you informed, strong, and resilient, we’ve got you covered. Check out our blog here for more news on addiction and treatment.