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Prescription Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation

Not all addictive drugs can be found through clandestine deals in back alleys or other unsavory places where illicit substances can be purchased. Some, surprisingly, can be obtained from any medical professional for legitimate and legal reasons. Drugs that are available through a prescription can still be harmful if they are not taken as instructed. In some cases, this can include regular over-the-counter drugs that almost anyone can purchase at the store. It isn’t uncommon—prescription drugs are some of the most commonly abused addictive substances in the U.S.—and many people wonder how it is even possible for such things to be still legal.

How Does A Person Become Addicted?

Most users of prescription drugs do not begin taking them with the intention of becoming addicted or otherwise abusing them. Often, they have a legitimate reason for their usage. This can include serious conditions and injuries, or even as a result of procedures like surgery. The person may begin to take the drug as it was originally prescribed for some time, possibly taking more of it when the original dosage size begins to lose its effect. As with any drug, the higher a person’s tolerance to a substance, the more that is needed to have any kind of effect on them.

There are also instances where the person abusing a prescription drug was not the person it was originally intended for. Some addicts of illicit drugs will turn to prescription drugs because of ease of accessibility. This can sometimes include over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, which can still have the same effects as their prescription counterparts. Usually, the drugs are stolen from someone who is actually using them and did not properly secure them when last used. They can come from someone that the user lives with or is related to, or they may steal them when visiting the homes of others once the addiction has set in.

Most prescription drugs that are abused are opiate pain relievers or depressants, which can be very strong even when taken in a proper dosage. Some of these drugs, like some CNS depressants and sedatives, are prone to addiction even when taken correctly and that risk is usually explained to the person the drug is prescribed to. Again, this is due to the person developing a tolerance and needing more of the drug in order for it to have an effect.

What About the Effects?

As a prescription drug is designed to treat something specific, there are some effects that are to be expected from its normal usage. Every drug has potential side effects, and everyone will likely respond differently to the drug. When prescription drugs are abused, those effects are much more likely to occur and with much more intensity due to a high dosage.

Should the person be the one to whom the drug was originally prescribed two, abuse of the drug will either greatly improve their ailment or greatly worsen it. It will depend on what the drug is and the state of the person’s health when they began using it legitimately and/or when they began abusing it.

Often, the effect that can be easily expected regardless of the drug type is tolerance. Should the person abusing a prescription drug ever need a similar drug for legitimate reasons (e.g., pain medication for surgery), it is possible that their body will be resistant to the drug prescribed.
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