Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse in Orangetown, NY

People struggle with a number of substance addiction problems, including legal drugs, prescription medications, and illegal street drugs. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a growing issue across the United States, with more people using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons than ever before. Most prescription drug abuse concerns three classes of drugs: opioid painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants.

Prescription Drug Statistics

Even though illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin continue to get most of the media attention, rates of prescription drug abuse and addiction continue to skyrocket across America. According to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Americans consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs despite accounting for just 5 percent of the global population. Opiates account for well over half all abuse cases, followed by sedative benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Prescription Drug Categories

Most prescription drug abuse involves three classes of substances, each of which has its own challenges when it comes to treatment. Opiates are the most widely abused class of prescription drugs, representing over half of all cases according to NIDA. Common opiate medications include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone among others. Opiates are available as single-ingredient or multiple-ingredient medications, with the later including the brand name drugs Vicodin and Oxycontin.

Sedatives are the second most widely abused prescription drugs, including barbiturates and benzodiazepines. While barbiturates are rarely prescribed in the 21st century, benzos such as Valium and Xanax are widely available and used recreationally to induce sedation. Stimulants are the third most commonly abused prescription drug class, including the trade name drugs Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. Unlike opiates and sedatives, stimulants do not produce physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, with users instead experiencing emotional and motivational symptoms.

How are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Prescription medications are abused whenever they are taken for non-medical reasons. While opiates and sedatives are normally abused for recreational reasons, stimulants are also abused to enhance performance and increase mental and physical energy. There are many ways to misuse or overuse prescription medications, with abuse taking place whenever someone uses these drugs in a different way than originally prescribed. Common methods of abuse include increasing dosage levels, combining medications, using drugs prescribed for someone else, and using a different method of administration than intended. For example, in order to induce a more potent effect, some people crush up pills and tablets in order to inject them intravenously.

Prescription medications can be sourced in many ways: from friends and family, directly from doctors, or on the black market from drug dealers. Prescription opiates are often sold as an alternative to heroin, either directly with the consumer’s knowledge or indirectly as a cheaper or more readily available substitute. The same can be said for prescription stimulants, with these drugs sometimes sold as an alternative to amphetamine and methamphetamine products.

Let Orangetown Drug Treatment Centers be your recovery resource guide. Just give us a call today at (845) 200-3509.

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