Drug addiction is a serious problem across the globe. Among the worst addictions, prescription drug addictions are growing at an alarming rate. Because the drugs are legal and often prescribed by a doctor, many don’t accurately understand the dangers until it is too late. These are the top ten most abused prescription drugs.
Oxycontin, Oxycodone, or Oxy, stands number one on the list. Doctors prescribe Oxycontin for long term or constant pain expected to last for an extended time period. Highly addictive, even at regular doses, it slows or potentially stops breathing.
Users crush, chew, snort, or inject it to bypass the time release, getting a massive high all at once. As a result, after 2010 the widespread abuse led manufacturers to add a crush-resistant coating. However, users continue to abuse it by removing the coating first. Street cost averages $10 per milligram.
Xanax, or Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine, is used as an anti-anxiety med. When abused, usually with alcohol, it causes blackouts. Detox and withdrawals are dangerous and potentially fatal without medical treatment. In addition, Xanax also causes side effects if taken along with grapefruit juice.
The most recognizable brand name for Hydrocodone mixtures, Vicodin ranks almost as potent as morphine for pain. A semi-synthetic opiate, Vicodin tolerance progresses slower than other opiates, making long-term addiction harder to notice until well established.
In 2013, it was the most commonly prescribed medication in the US, at over 13 million prescriptions. In addition, the DEA from 2005 to 2014, raised production quotas for hydrocodone from 37,000 units to just under 100,000 to keep up with product demand.
The number one drug bought and sold illegally in US jails and prisons, Suboxone ironically began as an addiction recovery drug. A combination of buprenorphine and naxalone, it surpassed $1.55 billion in sales in 2012.
Touted as a safer alternative to methadone, it still causes euphoria to a lesser extent and gets abused recreationally. If injected, the naxalone causes immediate withdrawal symptoms.
Doctors prescribe it for ADHD, sleep disorders, and even for severe cases of depression. Consequently, Adderall is the “study drug” of choice across college campuses and widely prescribed to young adults.
Over time, increased doses become necessary, leading to a list of side effects, including blistering, aggression, numbness, paranoia, and seizures. Overdoses cause delirium, tremors, cardiac arrhythmia, and even coma or death.
While laughable in Spaceballs as the name of the tired, apathetic prince, doctors prescribe Valium for anxiety, alcohol withdrawals, or muscle spasms. Often overprescribed, it lowers inhibitions and as a result, most complications occur with alcohol.
It alters sex drive in abusers, as well as causes suicidal thoughts, seizures, and a host of other side effects. All use causes increased tolerance and the need for higher doses, leading to potential addiction. Any sudden cessation leads to severe detox and even seizures in heavy users.
Oxycodone plus acetaminophen equals Percocet. Overdoses cause vomiting, bluish nails and lips, weak or stopped breathing, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, and even comas. Percocet abuse leads to severe liver failure. Prescribed for pain, such as dental work or minor surgeries, abusers often snort it for an intense high.
Doctors prescribe Ambien for short-term insomnia, but prolonged use builds tolerance, leading to dangerous dose increases. As a result, abusers often combine with other drugs or alcohol, this hypnotic causes sleepwalking or sleep driving, delusions, amnesia, and other side effects.
Overdoses slow down body functions like breathing and heart rate, and can even lead to coma or death.
This drug needs little introduction due to heroin overdoses across the country found cut with Fentanyl. The company creating it also heavily financed anti-cannabis legislation in Arizona, while under federal investigation. Most doctors give it in lollipops or patches for breakthrough pain not suppressed by current opiate use.
Fentanyl boasts strength 80 to 500 times that of morphine, and consequently, it quickly creates a high tolerance, even within days or weeks.
Finally, created to treat seizures and anxiety, in both children and adults, Klonopin is highly addictive. Doctors try to prescribe it for short-term use only, due to it quickly building tolerance and addiction. Abuse in addition with alcohol or opioids increased dangers, including aggressiveness, psychotic hallucinations, depression, and memory loss.