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Drugs & Health Blog

Prescription Drug Abuse: What's the Big Deal?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Lots of people are prescribed prescription drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin to help with pain from an injury or surgery. When taken as prescribed, these medications are safe; but when abused, they can be highly addictive and dangerous—even deadly.

Image link to a video about painkillers.
Click Image to Go to Video

In the video, “Get Back in the Game: Use Painkillers Safely,” NIDA scientists Dr. Cindy Miner and Dr. Joni Rutter describe what can happen when a person abuses painkillers. What is considered prescription drug abuse? Here are some examples:

  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking more than prescribed for you, or for a reason other than intended
  • Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs

To learn more, take a look at the materials in NIDA’s PEERx initiative. Prescription drug abuse is actually a serious public health problem in this country, and is growing in teens. You can help turn it around by raising awareness among your friends and family. Prescription drug abuse IS drug abuse, period.

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.


I work right next to a pain management clinic and we have team meetings about patients on these type of pain relievers. These doctors take prescribing pain meds very seriously because they know that people can overdose and die (if taken wrong). OxyContin or Vicodin are powerful narcotics. Yet, some think that they can share their prescription with a loved one or friend in pain. This is illegal. Tolerances to medication for one person are different than another so not only might you have a "bad trip" but you could stop breathing and die. So don't do it. If you are having pain these most MDs don't even recommend prescribing pain meds to youth (that's how dangerous they are!). Instead, physical therapy is recommended. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Well it was subscribe for pain and not to be abused.

I have been a professional Chinese medicine therapist for the last fourteen years and would like that people who are struggling with different types of addictions to know, that besides conventional therapies, you can also find yourself a good licensed Chinese medicine therapist, close to your home and while being treated conventionally you can also accompany this treatment by Chinese medicine and participating in personal development courses.These can also ease the process of [commercial link removed, per guidelines] kicking the Habit.
Good luck!
Dina Ruth

We have a TEACH PROGRAM where young people go to college in a safe clean and sober environment.
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Your blog is really must to whom use painkillers as chocolate..We tend to hear about painkiller addiction here and there, with the occasional celebrity coming out and admitting they have or have had a problem with prescription pain medications, but with the recent death of Michael Jackson being linked to possible pain med addiction, it has really forced a much needed dialogue about this epidemic.
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These prescription drugs have dangerous side effects. And the proof is this study. Findrxonline mentions buying prescription drugs online have increased considerably. Twenty percent in the last four years and is worrisome because now children and adolescents also take pain relievers such as vicodin, lortab, percocet, which are used for chronic diseases. We expect the authorities to take letters in the subject to reduce the overuse of medications prescribed in minor effects checked them.

I believe a lot of drug related situations are caused by a lack of motivation. To stay motivated I have created a routine that keeps me going by a set daily goals that will lead to a 20 year goal. Also, I have a self-help/ motivational blog that I post twice daily on with a themed schedule I keep. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Thank you for the information. This looks like an excellent resource for grandparents to share with their grandchildren. I'm bookmarking it in Delicious. Thanks again.

Prescription drug addiction is no laughing matter. But it always helps to have a good activity that not only takes your attention away from drugs, but also gives you something to aspire for. I've seen a lot of kids in my martial arts school really turn their lives around, just by having an activity that gives them a reason to stay clean. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

it feels good to find this kind of stuff while surfing on net… keep posting i liked it very much

In many cases the prescription drugs are helpful to treat illness or injury but in my opinion the should be an alterenate source and a less addictive drug.

This little blog helped me alot because ilearned that using prescription drug abuse is very dangerous and it can be daedly. ikno alot of ppl that use prescripition drugs and this info informed me. so now im going to share what ihave actually learned about this situation

Well this passage is telling that whats wrong with the country now is painkiller, because teenagers using medications just to use it, and some people taking other people medication or prescriptions that is not subscribed to them. Mixing different types of medication together an taking it and overdosing.

I agree with Mark a lot of drug related situations are caused by a lack of motivation from your surrounding peers.

I was also searching related stuff from long time.You have solved my problem.Thanks for sharing this great stuff with us.

Students trading/ selling their prescriptions is a widespread issues even with mature students. Many law schools have ritalin abuse and underground trade (to manage very very long study hours), and if anyone should know better, they should. Peer pressure AND the pressure to succeed are both factors. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

They should. Teach this at school some kids have no idea what this drug can o to them they may think it's cool now but what the start getting the effects they will be pissed they wasn't educated about this drug

Parents are the ones who should stay on top of the whole drudg abuse issue, always talking to your children about the peer pressure and the dangers of drudg abuse, and always watching for the signs should they appear in their own children.
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I believe this very sensitive issue needs to be the focus of furthur education.

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yup this is true u

My mother died of perscription drug overdose so I know how it feels for the people that have experienced this.

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Teens and adults both are going to find a way to abuse substances to get high. The real problem isn't making it more controlled, it is making something without dangerous side effects and risk of overdose legal. Marijuana is supposedly a gateway drug, but if it was legal to obtain I can almost guarantee that abuse of other more dangerous drugs would drop dramatically. When you have a child you note that the more you constrain and restrict, the more they try to rebel. It is the same with people in general. The more you try to control and restrict, the more they will try to find ways around it. Since you can't restrict everything effectively, maybe trying to give a little leeway would be beneficial.

@Pandagravy: On the “gateway” concept, while it is true that most people who use other drugs have also used marijuana (and nicotine and/or alcohol), it is not true that most marijuana users go on to use other drugs. Still, it’s good to remember that even if someone doesn't go beyond using marijuana or alcohol, these substances themselves can pose pretty big health risks, including the risk of addiction.

As a physical therapist and [commercial link removed, per guidelines] practitioner, and Vicodin is a highly prescribed pain killer due to it's effectivity. Patients should be well informed how strong this medicine it and only take as advised by doctor.

[commercial link removed, per guidelines] Parents are the ones who should stay on top of the whole drudg abuse issue, always talking to your children about the peer pressure and the dangers of drudg abuse, and always watching for the signs should they appear in their own children.

Some people, especially teenagers, experiment with prescribed drugs for they think that those will help them have more fun, lose weight, to fit in or even to study more effectively. These prescription drugs are easier to get that street drug…the family members or friends may have them.

Don’t you know that taking prescription drugs in a way that has [not] been recommended by a doctor can be more dangerous than people think? In fact, its drug abuse and it’s just as illegal as taking street drugs!

I totally agree.
[link removed, per guidelines] thanks you for this post.

this type of abusive drug should be completely banned form market cause they are just harmfull to our body not is so good thanks [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

I couldnt agree more on the articles and comments! this need to be taken care of seriously!
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thanks for the info, I will surely share it!
Saumil Thakkar
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thankx 4 da info i'll share it wif my homeis at skool

well i think people shouldnt take it unless its nessary

people are wrong for using pain killers when they dont need it when somebody deprssed and reaily needs it

I have s good knowledge about it because i also need drugs for some deceases but not continuously . Abuse of drugs are very harmful for human bodies .Wrong prescribed drug may occur tremendous loss for patient some times it may cause death.So be care full...!!!!!!

Treating drug addiction problems is really a big task for the doctors. Some of the patients are in such a bad condition that they couldn't overcome form their drug addiction problems. There are lots of drug addiction treatment rehabs present that provide best and effective treatment for the drug addicts.
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Really great post!!.Thank you for sharing this knowledge with us.

The information is very interesting with great pleasure i read your blog.

I believe a lot of drug related situations are caused by a lack of motivation. To stay motivated I have created a routine that keeps me going by a set daily goals that will lead to a 20 year goal. Also, I have a self-help/ motivational blog that I post twice daily on with a themed schedule I keep.
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I have a story that people may be able to relate to......when I was small my parents went through a divorce that was terrible.
All of the fighting yelling and blaming they did. I even saw them get in some physical fights but it wasn't until I got older and was in high school that I suppose it really started to affect me. I was the one that went out every weekend and got drunk and high Bc it was fun and seemed like the thing to do. When I was in 10th grade that I noticed a problem with my hand even though I had been having severe pain in my arm as well. We saw several doctors to figure out what was wrong. The problem was with the nerves in my shoulder but the problem is once the nerves are gone you cant bring them back so they prescribed me vicoden. I have been on vicoden since 2004 and was taken off of it last year because I was addicted to it. I became addicted to it after my body met a tolerance level and I needed more to relieve the pain. Every time I went Otto the doctor I never told them how much I needed to take for relief. If I could go back now I would. If you think it gives you an awesome high let me tell you its not worth it. Trying to overcome the addiction has been the hardest thing ive ever had to do. Plus comes the factor of the pain I already had. I just hole that teenagers will think twice before you ever try any drugs. If you have had any kind of trauma in your life be it physical or emotional please seek out safe alternatives to help not drugs.