Ever thought something that’s made to help us can lead to our downfall instead? Such is the case with prescription drugs. Although designed to alleviate pain, manage medical conditions, and support mental health, they can sometimes become a double-edged sword. While these medications are crucial in modern healthcare, some carry a high risk of abuse and addiction. It is essential to be aware of the dangers of prescription drugs, as misuse can have severe consequences. Let’s explore the risks associated with the most abused prescription drugs.

Most Abused Prescription Drugs

1 – Suboxone

Suboxone, also known by its generic name buprenorphine-naloxone, is commonly prescribed to treat opioid addiction. While it has proven effective in helping individuals overcome opioid dependence, it can also be misused. People may abuse Suboxone by injecting, snorting, or taking larger doses than prescribed. This can lead to a dangerous euphoric high and increase the risk of overdose.

In fact, many individuals obtain the drug without any prescription. This was revealed in a study where 63 percent of the participants agreed they used Suboxone illegally.

2 – OxyContin

OxyContin, a powerful opioid pain reliever, has gained notoriety for its potential for abuse. It contains oxycodone, a highly addictive substance. When misused, OxyContin can produce a quick and intense high. Crushing the tablets for snorting or injecting bypasses the time-release mechanism, leading to a potentially lethal dose. Long-term abuse of OxyContin can result in respiratory depression, organ damage, and even death.

What’s worse, almost one million individuals in the US aged 12 and above reported using OxyContin non-medically at least once. Thus, grown-ups and children alike aren’t free from the threat of the most abused prescription drugs.

3 – Adderall

Closeup of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Medicine Adderall

As a stimulant medication commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall has become a popular drug of abuse. It contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which can increase focus and alertness. However, when misused, Adderall can lead to addiction, cardiovascular problems, anxiety, and paranoia. Some individuals abuse Adderall to enhance academic, athletic, or work-related performance, despite the risks involved. Owing to these benefits, statistics from 2020 showed around 2.7% of eighth-graders engaged in Adderall misuse.

4 – Xanax

The top most prescribed drug in the US, Xanax, treats anxiety and panic disorders. It works by slowing down brain activity, inducing relaxation. However, its sedative properties make it susceptible to abuse. Since it’s so widely prescribed, over 16 million Americans abuse this prescription drug and many others.

People may take Xanax in higher doses or combine it with other substances to intensify the effects. While it provides short-term relief, misusing Xanax can lead to long-term problems like respiratory depression and memory issues.

5 – Ritalin

Ritalin, another stimulant medication used to manage ADHD, is prone to abuse, especially among students. When taken without a prescription, it can increase focus and attention, much like Adderall. Ritalin allows individuals to study or stay awake for extended periods. But again, its misuse can unleash many health issues, including elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and psychiatric disturbances.

Sadly, the drug has been abused for years, with 6.8 percent of ninth-grade students indicating at least one instance of misuse in 1998.

6 – Vicodin

Combining hydrocodone and acetaminophen, Vicodin is a potent painkiller frequently given for moderate to severe pain. Due to its opioid content, it can be abused to achieve a euphoric high. Vicodin is the preferred prescription drug among high school seniors, with approximately 8% of students reporting its use. But prolonged Vicodin abuse can lead to liver damage, respiratory depression, and addiction.

7 – Ambien

Ambien, a sedative-hypnotic medication, is prescribed for insomnia. It slows down brain activity and facilitates sleep. When misused, Ambien can induce hallucinations and memory loss. People may misuse Ambien to experience a state of intoxication or even to enhance the effects of other substances. It is among the US’s most rapidly abused prescription drugs since its abuse increased by 220% within five years.

8 – Fentanyl

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid painkiller. It is typically prescribed to manage severe pain, such as that experienced by cancer patients. However, illicitly produced fentanyl has become a significant concern due to its high abuse potential. The drug is usually mixed with heroin or sold as counterfeit prescription pills. Fentanyl abuse carries a substantial risk of overdose, as even tiny amounts can be lethal. Sadly, 70,000 people lost their lives to the drug in 2021 in the US.

9 – Valium

Valium (generic name diazepam) belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It commonly treats anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. However, due to its calming effects, Valium can be misused. In fact, its overdose caused 7000 fatalities in one year across 23 US states.

10 – Klonopin

Another benzodiazepine medication prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders, Klonopin (or clonazepam), works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA. This produces a calming effect which individuals may feel addicted to experiencing. But that can lead to Klonopin abuse, which causes drowsiness, confusion, and impaired coordination. High dose Klonopin withdrawals can be downright dangerous and even lead to psychotic episodes. It is highly advised to medically detox from this drug of abuse.

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Addiction Treatment for Most Abused Prescription Drugs with MARC

If you or your loved ones are grappling with one or many of the most abused prescription drugs and requires assistance, we urge you to contact us. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center is dedicated to providing the area’s most comprehensive substance addiction treatment. For support, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (888) 491-8447 or email our team at info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. We offer various drug and alcohol addiction treatment services to rescue you from the clutches of addiction.

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