Is Prescription Drug Abuse Real And On The Rise?

Prescription drug abuse is increasing among the United States population, especially among adolescents. The psychotherapeutic class of drugs includes pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. It is generally believed that the prevalence of prescription drug abuse is due in part to the easy accessibility of prescription drugs. If a person is unable to obtain a prescription from a physician, there are many sites on the internet that allow them easy access to prescription drugs – for a price. Those who are most likely to abuse prescription drugs are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors such as alcohol abuse and illegal drug use.


The effects of short-term opioid use include feelings of drowsiness compounded with depressed respiration. Risks associated with the abuse of opioids include addiction and overdose, particularly when users crush the pills and snort or inject the drug compounds, elevation their risk of overdose, severe respiratory depression, and death. The injection of these drugs also puts users at a greater risk for HIV infection.

Prescription Drug Abuse


The effects of short-term depressant use on the body include a sleepy feeling as the body becomes accustomed to the drug. Risks associated with the abuse of depressants include addiction and severe withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, shaking, sweating, chills, and seizures that must be managed with the assistance of a vigilant doctor.


The effects of short-term stimulant use include elevated blood pressure compounded with increased breathing and heart rate, suppressed appetite, and the inability to sleep. Risks associated with the abuse of stimulants include feverish body temperatures, seizures, and heart complications, including an irregular heartbeat. These types of drugs are often falsely viewed as a safe means by which to lose weight or improve concentration. In truth, stimulants are a highly addictive type of drug.

Prescription Drug Treatment

Behavioral and pharmacological treatment plans are two methods to approach prescription drug treatment. A pharmacologic plan counteracts the abused drug’s effects through medication and helps users to overcome drug cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. A behavioral treatment plan teaches users how to live drug-free by handling their drug cravings, avoiding situations that may trigger cravings, and how to handle potential relapses. Research has shown that a combination of behavioral and pharmacological treatments may be the best approach to battling prescription drug addiction.

Prescription Drug Addiction in Teenagers

A large number of teenagers in the United States use prescription drugs as a way to self-medicate and/or get high. This has led to widespread concern over a type of drug addiction that used to be thought of as a problem that plagued only adults. Children as young as 12 years of age are developing a prescription drug addiction.

Addiction treatment seeks to not only help the teen with his or her prescription drug addiction but also to uncover why the problem took hold in the first place. Drug rehab will not only work on the physical manifestations of the addiction but will also work on the psychosocial aspects.

What Parents Can Do

In order to prevent the start of prescription drug abuse by your teenager, keep all of your prescription medicine away from your children. Do not keep it in the medicine cabinet. Always keep all of your medication out of reach of your teens at all times.

Talk with your teenager about the dangers of taking prescription medication without a physician’s supervision. It is important to make sure your teen understands the seriousness of what drug addiction can do to impact their life. Prescription drug addiction can be as dangerous as drug addiction to other types of illicit drugs. To use an example, painkillers derive from opioids, and opioids are also what heroin is made from.