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During National Drug Facts Week: The Truth About Prescription Drugs

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Dr. Nora D. Volkow, NIDA Director
February 01, 2013
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

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.

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