Approximately 16 million Americans, aged 12 years old and above, have taken prescription drugs in 2009 ranging from pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives, or stimulants which were all for non-medical purposes. This is the alarming truth that was released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance abuse and Mental Health Administration) which shows that prescription medications can indeed be abused or has the potential to be abused.
Why these prescription drugs are abused is often a result of misuse or non-compliance of instructions in the use of specific medications. The most vulnerable people, according to the report, are the elderly and teens. The elderly group registers the lowest rate of compliance on instructions given for their prescribed medications while teens can easily become hooked on painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone.
When these drugs are misused or abused, it could start an addiction. Being addicted to prescription drugs is no different to the addiction on illegal drugs. Both are dangerous and could be fatal for users, and could lead to withdrawal symptoms if nothing is done to correct it. The same medications or behavioral and psychological therapies apply to addicts who want to be free from their cravings or habits.
People should be careful then in handling prescribed medications. Changing of dosages or sharing of medicines with others promotes prescription drug abuse and addiction. It is recommended to see a doctor when symptoms persist despite being prescribed with medicines and to never offer these drugs to other people.
There are many types of prescription drugs that can be or are being abused, including painkillers, stimulants, depressants, barbiturates, and dextromethorphan.