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.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription Drugs and Cold Medicines

Brochure - Opioid Overdose Recognition and Response

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 Abuse

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.

“Medicine Abuse in Iowa, A Family Guide to Prevention” briefly explains what types of controlled prescription drugs are most likely to be abused, gives safety tips for safeguarding medicines in the home, and provides suggestions on how to start a conversation with children about the proper use of medicine.

Feel free to download this brochure, and share it as widely as you see fit.  To request a limited quantity of printed brochures, please email your specific request to Angie Asa-Lovstad.


Other Resources to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse in Iowa

Iowa Opioid Trends

State of Iowa Special Report on Opioids to IDPH - August 2016

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.


Iowa on Alert for New Class of Dangerous Synthetic Drugs

Printed from the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy website on March 21, 2018 at 5:30pm.