You may think that taking prescription drugs is safe, and in many circumstances, it is. If you take medication that a doctor prescribed for you and follow the instructions for taking it, the risk of adverse effects, such as addiction, is typically very small.

Nevertheless, prescription drugs can be dangerous if you use them recreationally, take them in the wrong dosage or share them with others who do not have a valid prescription. Some prescription drugs have higher abuse potential than others. WebMD describes some of the prescription medications most commonly abused.

1. Stimulants

Stimulant drugs include methylphenidate, found in drugs such as Ritalin or Concerta, and amphetamines, which may go by brand names such as Dexedrine or Adderall. Your doctor is most likely to prescribe these drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. People, especially young people, often abuse them to control their appetite for weight loss or boost alertness and energy. However, stimulants can cause acute cardiac problems, such as irregular heartbeat, or cause your body temperature to increase to a dangerous level.

2. Opioids

Also called narcotics, opioids work to dull the senses to prevent you from feeling pain. Opioid abuse is so prevalent that it has reached the level of an epidemic across the country. Dependence on opioids can cause you to have flu-like withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. An opioid overdose can cause death by severely slowing down your vital functions.

3. Sedatives

Sedatives are drugs such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates that help you with insomnia or anxiety. High doses of barbiturates, especially if combined with alcohol, can cause difficulty breathing. Benzodiazepines are generally safer but still pose a risk of addiction or physical dependence, especially if overused.

Conviction on drug charges can make it more difficult to seek help. Please contact our office for more information on prescription drug offenses.