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Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?

In the United States, prescription drug abuse is second only to marijuana use as the most prevalent illicit drug.

But what’s the reason behind this? And can those who are addicted to prescription drugs receive treatment?

Let’s have a look

What’s Prescription Drug Abuse

There are many benefits to prescription drugs for patients, both mentally and physically. There is, however, the possibility of overuse of prescription drugs if the drug is taken in a way that is contrary to the prescription.

The effects of prescription drugs, like numbing pain or generating euphoria, sometimes lead to users wanting to take them for alternate motives. In other words, those who engage in the overuse of prescription drugs tend to do it to feel the high that they produce. 

Types of Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Not all prescription drugs are abused. A good example of this is asthma medications or cholesterol medications, which are prescribed but do not produce the same side effects as addictive drugs. Hence, they are not abused in the same way.

The reason for this is that not all drugs have secondary effects that encourage people to use them for other purposes. It is also important to note that not all prescription drugs are addictive.

Commonly abused prescription drugs include:


In most cases, opioids are administered after surgery, when a patient is terminally ill, or when a patient suffers a serious injury.

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

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


An estimated 5 million Americans engage in the overuse of prescription drugs labeled stimulants in 2020, according to a study.

Medical stimulants are also used to treat attention disorders and narcolepsy in addition to impulsive behavior. When you use stimulants, you become more alert, energetic, and attentive.

The effects of stimulants are similar to those of illicit drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and speed. 

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


Depressants are one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. They act by calming patients’ nerves, relaxing, and sedating them.

This type of prescription pill is often prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and sleep disorders.

Alcohol and marijuana alike have similar effects on the human body as depressants do.

A prescription depressant can be anything from a sleeping pill to barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

​Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common

In general, it is safe to say that prescription drug abuse is associated with a high risk of addiction. The risk of becoming addicted to prescriptions is just as high as that of becoming addicted to street drugs. 

There are 16 million Americans who misuse prescription pills each year, according to data.

In spite of the fact that prescription drug abuse is a common problem in the United States, the majority of prescription drug users don’t abuse their medications. However, there are those with abusive tendencies that contribute to the problem of why prescription drug abuse is so common.

The United States also has a more accepting culture towards prescription drug misuse than other countries, which could contribute to the growing epidemic.

There are several other factors that might also help contribute to the growing addiction problem, including underlying causes such as co-occurring disorders.

No matter what the cause, prescription drug misuse can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Prescription Drug Misuse Treatment 

If you or someone you love is suffering from prescription drug misuse then it’s time to seek treatment.

The good news is that prescription drug misuse treatment is available to assist you or a loved one if you need it.

Taking care of the addiction as soon as possible will make recovery much easier for the addict.

Get help from one of our recovery experts today by contacting Ava Recovery.

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