Top 10 Abused Prescription Drugs
The National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics report that the U.S. has 5.1 million people abusing painkillers, 2.2 million people taking tranquilizers illegitimately and 1.1 million people taking stimulants needlessly. In addition, approximately 100 people die daily in the U.S. from prescription drug abuse. Prescription drugs are usually the first drugs that young people will try. They think these drugs are safer to take because they are prescribed by a physician and are legal. What most people don’t realize is that these drugs can lead to serious medical problems and also become addictive. Below is a list of the top ten abused prescription drugs in the U.S.
- Opana (Oxymorphone)
Opana is an opioid narcotic used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain and is taken orally. It creates feelings of euphoria and relieves pain in the user. Symptoms of Opana abuse include slow heartbeat, seizures, respiratory suppression, stupor, low blood pressure, numbness in extremities, circulatory collapse, coma, cardiac arrest and death. It is believed Oxymorphone landed in the number one spot for abused opioid medication when Oxycontin was reformulated and became harder to crush and dissolve (in order to be snorted or injected).
OxyContin is an opioid narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain. It creates feelings of euphoria, relieves pain, sedates the user and can be taken orally or crushed and snorted. Symptoms of OxyContin abuse include hypotension, respiratory depression, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, liver damage, respiratory failure, seizures, myocardial infarctions, coma and death by overdose.
Phenobarbital is a barbiturate narcotic used as a sedative and anti-convulsant and is taken orally. It creates feelings of euphoria and has a sedative effect on the user. Phenobarbital abuse symptoms include lethargy, short-term memory loss, lack of concentration, irritability, increased heart rate, seizures and aggression. A recent In The Know Zone statistic stated phenobarbital abuse is responsible for approximately 1,500 emergency room visits per year.
Adderall is used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and narcolepsy. It creates feelings of euphoria and is a stimulant that increases mental focus and energy. Adderall can be taken orally, crushed and snorted or diluted in water and injected. Symptoms of Adderall abuse include hyper-activity, increased respiration rate, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiovascular system abnormalities, hostility, aggression, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and psychosis. Adderall is highly abused by college students and young adults because of its ability to increase concentration and keep the user awake for long periods of time, often seen as a benefit in terms of studying for many hours.
Promethazine is an anti-histamine and opioid cough suppressant. It is used in the treatment of colds, allergies and upper respiratory infections and is taken orally. Promethazine creates feelings of euphoria, relieves pain and has a sedative effect on the user. It is a popular drug abused by teenagers and young adults. The symptoms of Promethazine abuse include lethargy, impaired motor function, numbness, rapid heart rate and blood pressure, respiratory depression, hypoxia brain damage and depression of the central nervous system.
Valium is a benzodiazepine narcotic drug used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and muscle spasms. It creates feelings of euphoria, has a sedative effect on the user and is taken orally. The symptoms of Valium abuse include irritability, slurred speech, depression, confusion, amnesia, violent and aggressive behavior, social isolation, coma and death from overdose. Many people who begin improperly using Valium state “trying relieving stress” as the cause, however do not realize the major impact this drug has on brain chemicals which can quickly lead to addiction and dependence.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug used in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It creates feelings of euphoria, has a sedative effect on the user and is taken orally. The symptoms of Xanax abuse include confusion, loss of coordination, short-term memory loss, anxiety, depression, agitation, rage and mania. The drug is easily accessible to people of all ages, with more than 50 million prescriptions being written each year. It is estimated more than 125,000 people wind up in the emergency room each year with Xanax complications.
Dilaudid is an opioid narcotic used in the treatment of severe pain caused by cancer, burns and bone and soft tissue injuries. It can be taken orally or crushed and snorted. It creates feelings of euphoria and relieves pain in the user. The symptoms of Dilaudid abuse include vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, strange dreams, mood swings, respiratory depression, circulatory collapse, heart attack, stroke, seizures and coma.
Vicodin is an opioid narcotic used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It creates feelings of euphoria, relieves pain and has a sedative effect on the user. Vicodin can be taken orally or crushed and snorted. The symptoms of Vicodin abuse include lethargy, severe mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, cravings for the drug and lack of mental focus. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that abuse of Vicodin in the U.S. has more than quadrupled in the past ten years.
Ambien is used in the treatment of insomnia. It creates feeling of euphoria, has a sedative effect that induces sleep in the user and is taken orally or crushed and snorted. The symptoms of Ambien abuse include lethargy, lack of coordination, fatigue, euphoria, hallucinations, delusions, short-term memory loss and amnesia. It is estimated that emergency room visits for Ambien related issues have increased 220% between 2005 and 2010. In addition, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health there are approximately 500,000 people in the U.S. abusing Ambien and other sedatives each year.
The information above should be a clarion call to everyone in America. The misuse and abuse of prescription medications are causing health problems and death. Physicians and pharmacists should emphatically warn people of the dangers of misusing these drugs and how to properly store them in order to restrict access to young people.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.