It’s easy to become addicted to prescription drugs but the consequences can be devastating. Patients usually take these drugs for a few days or a few weeks, but unfortunately, some people start to rely on them, developing an addiction.
Prescription drugs mean just that: they have to be prescribed by a doctor or health professional; you can’t buy them from a chemist or supermarket. Patients usually take them for pain relief, relaxation, or stimulation.
Opioids are classed as painkillers and are usually used for medium to moderate pain, such as after operations, for immediate relief after injury and for headaches or migraines. Depressant drugs help people to relax and ease anxiety and depression. The old-fashioned term is ‘tranquillizers’, but they’re now more commonly known as benzodiazepines or benzos.
The third group of prescription drugs are stimulants, and they’re used to treat conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and uncontrolled deep sleep (narcolepsy.)
Are you taking any prescription drugs? We’ve listed the top 6 most addictive prescription drugs. If you spot your medicine on the list, take it cautiously. If you’re dependant on any of these drugs, your GP or local drugs rehab clinic can help.
Fentanyl is an opioid drug and a potent and highly addictive painkiller prescribed for severe pain after operations, injuries or cancer. If abused, it’s also a dangerous and deadly drug, more than 100 times stronger than heroin. The effects of Fentanyl are similar to that of heroin, and the user often feels euphoric or ‘high’ and relaxed.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning that it’s artificial. It’s sold as a white powder or contained in pills, lollipops, liquid (for injecting), and patches. Abusers take it via snorting, injecting, swallowing, and inhaling vapours produced by burning.
It’s becoming more common for illegal drug producers to add Fentanyl to heroin. This makes laced heroin even more potent and dangerous and has led to many deaths. Combining Fentanyl with alcohol or benzodiazepines can lead to overdose and death.
Also known by the brand name ‘Oxycontin’, Oxycodone is another opioid painkiller, producing similar effects to Fentanyl. It’s highly addictive, and if misused, it can lead to death.
Opioids such as Oxycodone and Codeine are semi-synthetic and produced using natural alkaloids found in the seed pod of certain types of poppy plants and artificial opioids. Alkaloids come from opium, a natural component of poppies.
Research has shown that people often move on to heroin after their bodies have become immune to the euphoric effects of Oxycodone. It’s widely abused in the USA, but there has also been a rise in cases in the UK, particularly the North East of England, in recent years. Combining Oxycodone with benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium and Diazepam can be deadly. If you have both of these medicines, make sure you NEVER take them together.
Addicts chew Oxycodone tablets or crush and snort them. Some people dissolve the tablets in water and then inject the liquid.
Codeine is another opioid to treat mild, moderate and severe pain. People also use it in combination with paracetamol to treat colds, coughs and flu, and people can buy tablets over the counter without a prescription.
Codeine is also called co-codamol which can be very addictive. Nurofen Plus and other branded painkiller products contain Codeine.
The medicine is said to make people feel relaxed and happy — this is why many people abuse it, taking it when they don’t need it and not for a valid medical reason. Like any addiction, Codeine addicts crave more Codeine, leading people to take higher doses more frequently than advised.
Addicts often swallow tablets whole. Others consume it in liquid form, inject it, or mix it with juice or fizzy drinks to make it more palatable.
Diazepam And Clonazepam
Diazepam And Clonazepam (also known as Valium) are very similar. They are both depressant medicines, also known as benzodiazepines and nicknamed ‘benzos.’ The chief aim of these medicines is to relax people. Still, diazepam and clonazepam are very addictive and can lead to abuse.
These drugs act on the central nervous system and help ease mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and panic. Diazepam And Clonazepam also helps those struggling with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, and insomnia and help treat alcohol withdrawal, vertigo and seizures. Both medications can cause drowsiness and slurred speech and make people feel mildly drunk and talkative.
Fake benzodiazepines are sold illegally and contain harmful substances that are very dangerous. Avoid them if you come across them.
Methylphenidate (known as Ritalin)
Ritalin is an addictive stimulant medicine, and it’s commonly used to treat attention disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep narcolepsy, a sleep condition which produces sudden bursts of deep sleep.
Ritalin works by changing brain chemistry and increasing dopamine levels, improving attention spans. Children with ADHD take Ritalin to help them concentrate and focus. Adults use it for the same reasons but abuse it if they want to stay awake and forego sleep.
You can often tell by looking at someone if they are abusing Ritalin. Look out for dilated pupils, aggression, euphoria, and paranoia. Over time, symptoms develop to include vomiting, mood changes, weight loss, headaches, nausea, vision changes, and headaches.
Ritalin addicts tend to crush and snort tablets or swallow many tablets whole.
If you have a pre-existing heart condition, don’t use Ritalin. It puts a strain on your heart and speeds up your blood pressure and heart rate. The results can be fatal.
Amphetamine (known as Adderall)
Amphetamines such as Adderall are similar to Ritalin and are used to treat conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.) It acts as a stimulant, raising dopamine levels and contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.
Outside of the medical terminology, it’s referred to as ‘speed.’ It’s often used to give people energy on nights out clubbing, or people use it to stay awake longer, for example, if they have a hectic lifestyle.
The tell-tale signs of Adderall use and abuse are similar to that of Ritalin, but look out for quickened breathing, increased blood pressure and body temperature and hyper-activity.
Here at Action Rehab, we provide world class addiction treatments for drug and alcohol addictions, including addictions to prescription drugs. We offer extensive support and treatment options, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.