Prescription drug abuse has become a widespread problem across the United States. For many people, especially those with some form of state or private health insurance, prescription drugs are easier to get a hold of than illegal street drugs. Since prescription medications are technically “controlled substances,” they are heavily regulated.
When an individual abuses prescription drugs, or otherwise misuses them, they may easily face criminal charges. So, what is prescription drug abuse exactly? It means to:
- Take prescriptions in a dose that is different than how it was prescribed.
- Taking another person’s prescription; for example, a teenager stealing Mom or Dad’s prescriptions and taking them at a party.
- Taking medication for the purpose of “getting high.”
- Taking a prescription for a nonmedical use; for example, to stay awake.
Which Prescription Drugs Are Abused the Most?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the following three types of medications are abused the most:
- Opioids, which are prescribed for pain.
- Central nervous system depressants, which are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep problems. These include hypnotics, sedatives and tranquilizers.
- Stimulants, which are typically prescribed to individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD).
Like illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse can lead to serious injuries and accidental deaths. Unfortunately, prescription drug misuse has skyrocketed in the past 15 years, which is evidenced by the surge in emergency room visits, prescription drug overdose deaths, and the increase in treatment for people suffering with serious addictions to prescription drugs.
“Unintentional overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers have more than quadrupled since 1999 and have outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine since 2002,” according to the NIDA. If you’ve gotten into trouble with the law because you illegally possessed a prescription drug, or because you were caught selling them on the street, The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC can help.