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Why is Abuse of Prescription Drugs Such a Common Problem?

Misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana use as the most common illicit drug in the nation.

But why is prescription drug abuse such a common problem in the United States? And is there prescription drug addiction treatment available for those who need it?

What Is Prescription Drug Misuse

Prescription drugs are a great medicinal tool to help patients heal both mentally and physically. However, prescription drug abuse may occur if patients take the medication in a way different than prescribed by their doctor.

Prescription drugs may have secondary effects like numbing pain or generating euphoria which can prompt users to take them for alternate motives.

Types of Abused Prescription Drugs

Not all prescription drugs are misused. For example, one does not hear about cholesterol or asthma drugs being abused. 

This is because not all drugs have secondary effects that may prompt users to take them for alternate motives. Also not all prescription drugs have addictive properties.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs include


Typically, opioids are administered to patients who have recently undergone surgery, who are terminally ill, or who have suffered grave injuries.

The drug belongs to the same family as morphine and heroin, which have similar numbing and addictive properties.

The most common opioid prescription pills are Percocet, Oxycontin, Codeine, and Hydromorphone


Nearly 5 million people – 1.8% of the population – misused prescription stimulants in 2020, according to a study.

In addition to treating impulsive behaviors, medical stimulants are used for the treatment of attention disorders as well as narcolepsy. They increase alertness, energy, and attention when you use stimulants.

Stimulants have similar effects to illicit drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth, and speed. 

Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine are prescription stimulants that are commonly abused.


The use of depressants helps patients relax and sedate, which calms their nerves.

Prescription pills like these are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and sleep disorders.

There are similarities between the effects of depressants and the effects of illicit drugs such as marijuana and alcohol.

Sleep medications, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines are examples of prescription depressants.

Why is Abuse of Prescription Drugs Such a Common Problem in America

It is probably safe to say that addiction is one of the most common risks associated with prescription drug abuse. 

The risk of becoming addicted to medicines is just as high as that of becoming addicted to street drugs for people who abuse them. 

Data shows that there are 16 million Americans who misuse prescription pills every year.

Yet, while prescription drug abuse is a common problem in the United States, the large majority of prescription drug users don’t misuse them.

Close to 50% of the US population takes prescription drugs—a much higher number than the 6% who abuse them.

While not many people who are prescribed drugs abuse them, the fact that a large number of people take prescription drugs in the US could be partly at fault. 

Others may fall into addiction unintentionally, by taking more of their prescription recklessly. 

There is also the culture, as prescription drugs are more common and accepted in the United States than they might be in other places. 

There are many reasons why people may fall into addiction, including underlying causes like co-occurring disorders.

Whatever the case may be, prescription drug addiction can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment 

If you or a loved one is suffering from prescription addiction then it’s time to get help.

Fortunately, there is prescription drug addiction treatment available that can help you or your loved ones get the help you need to get well and sober.

The sooner the addiction is treated the easier it will be for the patient to recover swiftly.

Contact 90210 Recovery today for help and one of our recovery experts will be here to assist you.


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