Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs

Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—that is, taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.

Commonly Abused Drugs:

Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy). 

Opioids include:

Fentanyl (Duragesic®)
Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
Oxymorphone (Opana®)
Propoxyphene (Darvon®)
Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
Meperidine (Demerol®)
Diphenoxylate (Lomotil®)

Central nervous system depressants include:

Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
Diazepam (Valium®)
Alprazolam (Xanax®)

Stimulants include:

Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®)
Amphetamines (Adderall®)

Talking with Children to Prevent Medicine Misuse

Studies have shown that when teenagers learn through dialog at home about the risks of using illicit drugs, they are up to 50% less likely to ever use drugs.  Applying that same reasoning to prescription drug abuse, Iowa parents who talk with children about the perils of misusing medicines can improve the odds of keeping their family healthy.

Other Resources to Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse

Centers for Disease Control
Leader in U.S. Public Health information and guidance.

National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health
Research-Based findings on trends and impacts.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Take Back Event information (“Got Drugs”) and Regulatory guidance.