- Prescription drugs can be potent and beneficial, but they can also pose risks to our health if not taken correctly.
- Opioids have the potential for physical dependence when abused or taken excessively.
- When misused, stimulants can cause serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart palpitations, restlessness, anxiety, and paranoia.
- Sedatives can lead to physical dependence and adverse health effects such as confusion, impaired coordination, respiratory depression, and even death when not taken properly.
Prescribed drugs can be potent and beneficial, but they can also pose risks to our health if not taken correctly. The misuse of prescription drugs is an increasingly common issue in the U.S., with an estimated 35 million Americans misusing prescription drugs. Most of these prescription drug misuse cases are painkillers and stimulants prescribed by a doctor.
When used correctly, medications are designed to provide relief or prevent disease. However, these same drugs can cause physical and psychological dependence and severe health problems when abused or taken excessively. For instance, when taken according to directions, painkillers can help manage severe chronic pain. However, if used or taken without a valid medical need, they can trigger adverse health effects, from slower breathing to elevated blood pressure and even death.
The medical sector must ensure that patients know the risks associated with prescription drugs, including possible side effects and interactions with other medications. For patients, awareness will be vital. Here are a few drugs used by millions of Americans that pose a risk if misused:
Opioids are potent medications that are used to treat pain. They can be prescribed to help patients manage severe chronic pain, acute pain after surgery, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Medically, opioids can be a godsend for those suffering from extreme pain levels, providing relief and improving their quality of life. However, they come with risks as well.
Unfortunately, these drugs can cause physical dependence and addiction when abused or taken excessively. The use or abuse of opioid medications has been increasing rapidly in recent years due to their potency and potential for misuse. This is especially true for synthetic opioids, which are much more potent than natural opioids. When misused, the risk of overdose increases exponentially; according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 70% of overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid drug. Here are a few opioid-based drugs used in the medical field:
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is used to relieve pain. It is commonly prescribed for severe chronic and acute pain, such as post-surgery. The drug is so potent that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Hydrocodone is another commonly prescribed opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 and since then has seen a surge in use. Patients need to follow their doctor’s dosage instructions, as the drug can cause physical dependence and addiction if taken excessively or misused.
Morphine is a naturally derived opioid that is prescribed to manage severe pain. It has been used in the medical field for many years and is still commonly prescribed today, although it comes with risks when misused or taken at higher doses than recommended.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid used to manage moderate to severe pain and treat opioid addiction. While it can be beneficial in some cases, the drug also carries a high risk of physical dependence and addiction when misused or taken at higher doses than recommended by a doctor.
Stimulants are medications used to treat various conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. They increase alertness, focus, and energy levels in people with these conditions. While stimulants can be helpful when taken correctly, they can also be dangerous if misused or taken excessively.
When abused, the risk of addiction increases exponentially; according to NIDA, more than 70% of overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid drug. Stimulants can cause physical dependence and lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart palpitations, restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, and even seizures.
Adderall and Ritalin are two of the most commonly prescribed stimulant medications. Adderall treats ADHD and narcolepsy, while Ritalin is primarily used for people with ADHD. When taken according to a doctor’s instructions, these drugs can help manage the conditions they are meant to treat. However, misused or taken without medical supervision can lead to serious health problems and addiction.
Sedatives are medications used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. While they can be helpful when taken correctly, they come with risks if misused or taken excessively. For instance, benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax are commonly prescribed sedatives believed to help people with anxiety and sleep issues.
However, these drugs can cause physical dependence when abused or taken in higher doses than recommended. They can also lead to serious health problems such as confusion, impaired coordination, respiratory depression, and even death when misused.
It is essential for people taking these prescription medications to be aware of the potential dangers associated with their misuse. Patients should consult their doctor about any concerns or side effects they may experience. If you are already suffering from addiction, you can go to a benzodiazepines addiction treatment center to get the needed help.
Misusing prescription drugs is a serious issue; it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with taking them. Always take your prescribed medications as instructed by your doctor, and never take them in higher doses than recommended. If you have any issues or concerns with your medication, consult your healthcare provider before making changes. With proper awareness and education, we can reduce the risk of prescription drug misuse and keep our communities safe.