How Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Individuals of all ages abuse prescription drugs. This report discusses this alarming trend and addresses the question, how are prescription drugs abused?

Data reported by The National Household Survey On Drug Abuse indicates that an estimated 36 million U. S. residents aged 12 and older abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.

This survey also revealed that millions of teenagers and young adults abuse prescription drugs.

Nearly three million individuals aged 12-17 and nearly 7 million individuals aged 18-25 abused prescription drugs at least once.


How are prescription drugs abused

How are prescription drugs abused?

Prescription drugs are abused in a variety of ways. Many of the prescription drugs that are commonly abused are available as tablets. Typically, abusers either consume the tablets orally or crush them into a powder which they then snort. In some instances, abusers dissolve the crushed tablets in water and then inject the solution.

What are the risks?

The risks associated with prescription drug abuse vary depending upon the drugs that are abused.

Abuse of opioids, narcotics, and pain relievers can result in life-threatening respiratory depression which is reduced breathing.

Individuals who abuse depressants including benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, barbiturates, and sedatives place themselves at risk of seizures, respiratory depression, and decreased heart rate.

Stimulant abuse can cause high body temperature, irregular heart rate, heart failure and fatal seizures. It can also result in hostility or feelings of paranoia.

Individuals who have used prescription drugs by injecting them expose themselves to additional risks including: contracting HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other blood borne viruses.

How are prescription drugs obtained?

Prescription drugs are obtained in various ways. In some cases unscrupulous pharmacists or other medical professionals either steal the drugs or sell fraudulent prescriptions.

In the process known as doctor shopping, abusers visit several doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions. Individuals also call pharmacies with fraudulent prescription refills or they alter prescriptions.

Prescription drugs occasionally are stolen from pharmacies. Young people typically obtain prescription drugs from peers, friends, or family members.

Some individuals who have legitimate prescriptions sell or give away their drugs. Young people also acquire prescription drugs by stealing them from relatives and other individuals with legitimate prescriptions.


How are prescription drugs abused

How are prescription drugs abused



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