Prescription opioids are pharmaceutical drugs that can only be legally obtained with a medical prescription. Although a doctor may prescribe an opioid, abusing prescription drugs carries just as many risks as illicit drug abuse does. Nonmedical use of prescription opioids is not only illegal, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
Prescription opioids are very powerful and addictive. While these substances have the potential to treat chronic pain, they also can cause serious physical and psychological harm if they are misused.
Prescription drug abuse, especially that of opioids, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Opioids, including prescription opioid drugs, killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, which is more than any year on record. Prescription opioids are responsible for nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths.
Prescription opioid abuse comes in many forms and may include some or several of the following behaviors:
- Taking someone else’s prescription opioids
- Taking a prescription opioid in a different way than prescribed
- Taking a higher dose than prescribed
- Taking the prescription more frequently than prescribed
- Self-medicating with prescription opioids
- Purchasing prescription opioids from a drug dealer or a friend
- Stealing prescription opioids from a doctor, clinic, hospital, or another type of medical facility
Prescription opioid abuse reduces a person’s reaction time and may hinder a person’s ability to drive safely. Impaired driving can lead to car accidents and serious or fatal injuries. If you are stopped by the police while driving under the influence, you may also be arrested and charged, just as if you were driving under the influence of alcohol.
Purchasing prescription opioid drugs from a drug dealer or forging prescriptions can also get you into legal trouble, with possible jail sentences of anywhere from six to 12 months.
Physically, the adverse of effects of prescription opioid abuse vary based on the frequency of the drug abuse, how the drugs are abused, and any other drug or alcohol addictions the person has, among other individual circumstances.
Common physical consequences of prescription opioid abuse include:
- Trouble breathing
- Pinpoint pupils
Click on each prescription drug to show its short-term effects.
Click on each prescription drug to show its long-term effects.
Click on the prescription drug to show its withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- Vicodin/Lortab/Lorcet (Hydrocodone)
- Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
- Dolophine/Methadose (Methadone)
- Duramorph/Roxanol (Morphine)
- OxyContin/Percodan/Percocet (Oxycodone)
- Opana (Oxymorphone)
Treatment for prescription opioid abuse should be individualized based on the circumstances of the client. Most individuals need to begin addiction treatment with a medically supervised drug detox program, followed by long-term drug rehab and behavioral therapy.
- Gender-specific treatment
- Evidenced-based treatment
- 12-Step immersion
- 90-day residential treatment
- Family program
- Full continuum of care
- Insurance and private pay
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