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Prescription drug abuse
What is prescription drug abuse?
Addiction is a chronic brain disease. Abuse of drugs, or even prescription drugs can lead to changes in the structure and function of the brain.
Which prescription drugs are commonly abused?
The three most often abused prescription drugs include Opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants.
Opioids are used to treat pain (codeine, morphine, Demerol). Since the early 1990’s doctors’ prescription for opioid medications have greatly increased. However, this increase can be attributed to other factors such as the aging population and new discoveries in medicine.
Central nervous system depressants are generally used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders including insomnia. These affect neurotransmitters in the brain.
Stimulants give the body a fast jumpstart causing an increase in alertness and attention. Stimulants can increase blood pressure, constrict blood vessels, and open the pathways of the respiratory system. Stimulants were originally used to treat asthma. Today, we use them to treat ADHD, ADD, depression and narcolepsy.
Prescription drugs are now more available to people then they were before, this creates an increase in the opportunity to abuse prescription drugs. Prescription drug abuse could be taking more than the instructed dosages or using them for reasons other than the intended purposes.