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Drugs & Health Blog

During National Drug Facts Week: The Truth About Prescription Drugs

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Dr. Nora D. Volkow, NIDA Director
Dr. Nora Volkow

Did you know that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are the most commonly abused substances by high school seniors (after marijuana and alcohol)? Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—taken for reasons or in ways not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone with no prescription.

In all my years as a medical doctor and scientist who studies drug abuse, I have never met anyone who wanted to get addicted. Sometimes, addiction comes from a lack of knowledge. For example, people often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for the purpose intended. When abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and lead to other bad health effects, including overdose—especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.

You can help protect yourself from such risks by knowing the facts about drugs. Check out our NIDA for Teens site to learn more and see what’s happening now during National Drug Facts Week.

We have a cool infographic on Monitoring the Future stats—Check it out.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Comments

very good info here thanks have you seen [link removed, per guidelines] that have some good info on there site as well about his
this was suprising information for me because i didnt know that. but its good advice for people who are abusing these drugs.
drugs have became a big part of the us an it needs to stop
This is very important prescription and OTC drugs [commercial link removed, per guidelines]
Is it true that if you were to use a drug that weed would be he best thing to use?

@Abby, Not at all. There’s no “best” drug to use—all of them have their hazards and bad consequences. Marijuana does not send as many people to emergency rooms as some other drugs do, but using it has many bad effects (some of which are hard to notice at first). It can seriously impair your ability to drive or to function in school, and if you use it regularly in your teens, it can permanently alter your mental functioning, making you less likely to succeed or be happy in life later.

STOP THE DRUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree with Doctor Nora that prescription drugs are as dangerous as “street drugs”, because you can still get addicted to OTC drugs like you can with street drugs, and also when you take OTC drugs that are prescribed for you, you may think that it's not really helping so take more and you can cause long time damage health effects, or maybe if you take too much you can overdose and potentially die.
I agree with what Dr. Nora is talking about. She states that abusing prescriptive drugs can lead to addiction and very serious health conditions. The evidence that she supports her claim with a chart that shows the illicit drugs that teens are abusing. Adderall and Vicodin have the highest percentages for pharmacuetical drug abuse. She also explains the symptoms that you get from overdosing OTC drugs. One of the symptoms that you can get is a strong addiction to the drug.
“Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and because of that, are sometimes abused-taken for reasons or in ways not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone with no prescription.” I agree with this because people will abuse over the counter drugs to get high. People will also use other people's prescriptions for themselves and that's not good for their body. “Sometime addiction come from a lack of knowledge.” I also agree with this because people will over dose not knowing all of the affects it will have on your personal life and your body. People can get more educated on the drugs they are taking so they know what will happen to them if they abuse the drugs.
Dr. Nora D. Volkow said, “Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—taken for reasons or in ways not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone with no prescription.” I agree with Volkow that people abuse prescription drugs, knowingly or not, by taking them in ways not prescribed, or by taking someone else’s prescribed drugs, or, according to Prescription Pain Medication by an article by Heads Up, people can also abuse prescription drugs if they are taking them to get high. Another piece of evidence Volkow gave to support her opinion was, “Sometimes, addiction comes from a lack of knowledge. For example, people often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for the purpose intended. When abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and lead to other bad health effects, including overdose—especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.” I also agree with Volkow that people usually think illicit drugs are more dangerous than prescription drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor, but this is false. Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs when the user takes them in ways other than prescribed, for example taking more than prescribed, which can lead to overdose and addiction.
I agree with Dr. Nora D. Volkow that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are the most commonly abused substances by high school seniors. Some medications are being used in ways not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone with no prescription. Addiction does come from a lack of knowledge. When drugs are abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be additive and lead to many other bad health effects. Most people often think prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit/illegal drugs, that is typically only true when they’re taken precisely as prescribed and for the purpose intended.
“I have never met anyone who wanted to get addicted.” I agree with that because not many people say that they are only going to do it once and that's it, and they don't expect that they will actually get addicted to it. High doses reaching the brain rapidly increasing the risk of overdose and addiction. “Sometimes, addiction comes from lack of knowledge” I agree with that because some don't think that you can get addicted because they don't know about what could happen to you. You can get lots of different brain diseases.

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