A majority of people who visit a doctor and are recommended a medication follow the instructions of the physician, they use the drug as instructed, and stop the medication at the proper time (MRC 1). However, some people learn that the prescription drug they were recommended causes them to experience pleasant or enjoyable feelings to an extent that they do not want to give up the drugs. Such people may realize that they desire the effects of the prescription medicine and start to use it in a manner or method in which it was not prescribed. Some of the most common prescription medications of abuse comprise, anti-anxiety agents, opioid painkillers, stimulants, as well as tranquillizers (MRC 1).
Opioid painkillers or narcotics such as, OxyContin which comprise oxycodone, and those comprising hydrocodone or Norco are largely used to manage chronic pain and may also be abused as a way of obtaining the high feeling caused by these drugs (NIH 1-7). Anti-anxiety agents and known sedatives for instance, benzodiazepines and hypnotics such as, Ambien are also used in the management of anxiety and to promote sleep. These kind of medications are also used to induce feelings of pleasure for the user, thereby leading to abuse and addiction (NIH 1-7).
Stimulants for example, Ritalin are used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy and also provide the user with enhanced energy and alertness. The wide spread abuse of stimulants is particularly prime among the young generation to thrive academically (NIH 1-7). Many people work on the wrong notion that because these drugs are recommended by a doctor and sanctioned or approved they are much safer than street drugs. However, this is not true since as acceptance develops a person must take more of the drug to achieve the same high (NIH 1-7).
As such, teenagers and grownups mainly abuse prescription medicines for many reasons, for instance:
- To lessen appetite or increase concentration.
- To feel good or get high.
- To relax or relieve tension.
- To test with the psychological effects of the substance.
- To continue an addiction and avoid withdrawal.
- To be known by peers or to be social.
- To try to increase concentration and academic or work performance.
Some primary causes include:
For children mainly those who grow up in rowdy families and surroundings where addiction runs rife are at a greater risk of developing an addiction late in life. In addition, people who begin to abuse drugs at an early age also at a higher risk of developing full-blown addiction at a later point in their lifetime (IOM 3). Another crucial factor to note is the desire by teenagers to fit in a certain group of peers or the desire to be famous may also lead them to abuse such drugs.
A majority of people who become addicted to prescription medications are frequently prescribed drugs for a biological condition for instance, pain conditions and they end up becoming addicted to the pleasant side effects of such drugs. Statistically, it is estimated that 20% of persons in the United States have used prescription medications for nonmedical reasons, in so doing they engage in prescription drug abuse (MRC 1). In the United States the abuse of prescription drug addiction is a very serious and mounting problem.
To this end, scholars thus far have not been able to conclude an exact reason for the advancement of addiction. However it is generally measured to be a multifactorial condition with numerous factors interplaying to form or create the addiction.
Institute of Medicine (IOM). Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.
Mount Regis Center. Prescription Drug Abuse & Addiction Effects, Signs & Symptoms. Accessed from http://www.mtregis.com/prescription-drugs/effects-signs-symptoms on 23rd February 2016.
National Institute of Health, 2014. Prescription Drug Abuse. Accessed from https://teens.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/prescriptiondrugrrs_11_14.pdf on 23rd February 2016.