Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?

Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?

The use of prescription drugs to treat injuries and illnesses is commonplace and considered “normal.” According to information provided by Mayo Clinic, 7 in 10 Americans take at least one prescription medication, while more than half take two. When used as prescribed by doctors, prescription drugs are an effective tool as part of a comprehensive care plan. However, many prescription drugs have a high potential for addiction, and people can easily become hooked—and the consequences can be life-threatening.

This article will answer the question why is prescription drug abuse common. You will have better knowledge of the various types of prescription drugs and why prescription drug misuse is so common. You will also learn the most common abuse prescription drugs and where you can go to get treatment for prescription drug abuse.

Contact Atlas Healthcare Group today to find addiction treatment in California.

What are Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drugs are medications that are used to treat pain as well as a variety of medical conditions. This is the formal step a drug sponsor takes to ask that the FDA consider approving a new drug for marketing in the United States. An NDA includes all animal and human data, analyses of the data, and information about how the drug behaves in the body and how it is manufactured.

Prescription drugs fall into four general categories: pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants. These highly potent medications must be carefully prescribed and administered by experienced medical staff. These medications are only designed to be used short-term and are not intended for regular use. Overusing prescription drugs is a serious issue in the United States, with just over 16 million people reporting misusing prescription medications in the last year.

Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?

When people ask why is prescription drug abuse common, there are a variety of reasons, and is dependent of the type of medication. For example, people who abuse prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin do so because of their intense euphoria when using the drug. For those who abuse stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, they do so because it helps them concentrate or helps them study, or get more work done. Those who abuse tranquilizers do so because it helps them relax or fall asleep.

Most, if not all, prescription drugs are potent and highly addictive. Even if taken as prescribed, there is a chance that people can get hooked on these medications. Prescription drugs act on the brain’s reward centers and release enormous amounts of endorphins and other neurotransmitters. As people take higher dosages, the drugs themselves slowly take over neurotransmitter production the brain and body become dependent on medications for daily functioning.

What Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?

As stated earlier, there are four main categories of prescription medications. The most commonly abused prescription medications by category are the following:


  • Oxycontin
  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Morphine


  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Dexedrine


  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan


  • Ambien
  • Lunesta
  • Seconal
  • ·Valium

What Are The Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Signs pointing to prescription drug misuse vary on the type of drug being abused. For example, people abusing prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin may experience the following signs:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Extended feelings of euphoria
  • Drowsiness

For those misusing stimulant-based drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin, they may experience these specific signs of abuse:

  • Hyperawareness and alertness
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation

For those misusing anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Klonopin, the common signs of abuse include:


  • Unsteady walking
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration

In general, the overuse of prescription drugs results in users forging prescriptions or stealing medications out of a family member’s or friend’s medicine cabinet. Also, they will go to multiple doctors to get extra prescriptions. Additionally, people will exhibit wide mood swings and will engage in high-risk and impulsive behavior.

How to Find Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment in California

This article answered a few questions regarding why is prescription drug abuse common. If you are struggling with the overuse of prescription drugs, you need to seek the help and support of a reputable drug treatment facility such as Atlas Healthcare Group. Atlas Healthcare Group offers California addiction and mental health treatment. Our experienced treatment staff will work with you to design a treatment program that fits your needs.

We offer a fusion of traditional and holistic therapies as well as multiple levels of care. Don’t wait another day to address your addiction; call Atlas Healthcare Group today and take your first confident steps toward recovery. 

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