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Prescription Drugs
Effects of Prescription Drugs
Prescription Drug Withdrawal

Prescription Drugs
Recreational use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and prominent problem in the United States. While many people take prescription medications as directed by their physician, it is estimated that approximately 20 percent of the country uses prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. Also, according to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), 9.3% of 12th graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription and 5% reported using Oxycontin.

What are the effects of prescription drug use?

The abuse of certain prescription drugs can affect the brain’s activity, resulting in addiction. These types of drugs are often referred to as “Opioids”, drugs that serve as central nervous system depressants or stimulants.

Opioids are beneficial because or their pain-reliving qualities. Examples include Codein, Oxycontin, Morphin, and Percocet. Opioids work by attaching to specific proteins in the spinal cord, brain, and gastrointestinal tract. When these drugs attach to the opioid receptors, they block the perception of pain.

Side effects can include:

  • drowsiness
  • depress respiration
  • nausea
  • drowsiness
  • constipation

These prescription medications can also create a sense of euphoria by manipulating the regions of the brain responsible for controlling pleasure. Prescription drug addicts can frequently alter the way the drug is administered to exacerbate this sensation. Oxycontin, for example, is often injected or snorted to intensify the high. These methods greatly increase the risk of overdose.

Drug Detox/Withdrawal of Prescription Drugs
Short term symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Involuntary leg movements.
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey")

Long Term Symptoms of Prescription Drug Withdrawal
Long-term use of opioids can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Taking a large single dose of an opioid could cause severe respiratory depression that can lead to death.


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