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10 Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

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The top ten most addictive prescription drugs can be separated into three main types: opioids (narcotic painkillers), central nervous system depressants, and central nervous system stimulants. Opioids, also known as painkillers, attach to opioid receptors in the body to relieve pain and are commonly prescribed after serious injuries and surgical procedures. Central nervous system depressants will slow down or decrease one’s brain activity and are normally prescribed to those with anxiety and sleep disorders. Central nervous system stimulants are used to improve one’s attention, alertness, and increase one’s energy.


Methadone can be very habit forming, and this is why it is on the list for the top most addictive prescription drugs. Methadone falls into the category of opioids. It is sometimes prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain, but more commonly used to help prevent and ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings associated with the cessation of opiate drugs, such as heroin and morphine, for those enrolled in addiction treatment programs. Methadone comes in the form of tablets, oral solutions, and as injections. It is most commonly sold under the names of Dolophine (known as dolls, dollies, and fizzies), Methadose, and Methadone Diskets. If used as prescribed and directed, methadone can provide pain relief for moderate to severe pain and aid in the processing of the treatment of an opiate addiction. However, if abused or used illegally, methadone abuse can begin a new addiction and all the dangers and side effects that go along with it.


Hydrocodone is used in combination with another non-opioid compound and prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain or as a cough suppressant. It is sold in the forms of tablets, capsules, and syrups, and is most often combined with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Vicodin is a very popular and highly addictive form of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Vicodin is one of the most widely prescribed and abused prescription drugs in the United States. Other variations of Hydrocodone include such brand names as Anexsia, Dicodid, Hycodan, Lorcet, Hycomine, Norco, and Lortab. If used as directed by a medical professional, Hydrocodone pain relieving medications are effective and generally safe. However, if used improperly or illegally, these drugs can result in a life-consuming and deadly addiction that results in the need of professional addiction treatment.


Oxycodone has the highest potential for being abused and comes with the greatest dangers associated with abuse. It is a semi-synthetic opioid which is used as a pain reliever and is also prescribed to treat severe diarrhea. There is a high risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if oxycodone is abruptly stopped, which is another contributing factor to its high addiction rates. One of the most commonly abused Oxycodone pain-relieving medications is OxyContin. OxyContin contains the largest amount of oxycodone when compared with the other oxycodone tablet form medications. Because OxyContin has the same reaction as heroin on the nervous system, it is often used as an alternative to illegal opiate drugs, such as heroin. Percocet is also a very commonly abused pain-relieving drug in the United States. It is a combination of the drugs oxycodone and acetaminophen. Other popular brand names of oxycodone include: Percodan, Roxicet, Roxicodone, Endodan, Endocet, Roxilox and Tylox.


Morphine has a high potential for being addictive. It is an opioid medication that is used in treatment of moderate to severe pain and is available in the forms of tablets, syrups, injections, or suppositories. Morphine is also a main compound in the highly addictive drugs including hydromorphone (known for brand names such as Dilaudid, Exalgo, and Palladone), oxymorphone (most known for the trade names Opana, Numorphan, Numorphone), and heroin. Street terms for morphine include: M, Miss Emma, Monkey, and White Stuff. It has been reported as having some of the largest rates of abuse and addictions compared to similar opioid narcotic painkillers. Some of the most common marketed names of morphine are Astramorph, Avinza, DepoDur, Duramorph, and Kadian. It is important that those who are prescribed morphine use their medication only as directed in order to ensure their safety and to prevent the risk of an addiction or an overdose.


Fentanyl is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, particularly for individuals who are suffering from chronic pain and are, in most cases, physically tolerant to other opiate painkillers. It is available in the forms of skin patches, lozenges, pills, shots, dissolving films, and IVs. The effects of this drug are similar to morphine, but it is more potent than morphine. It is important that those prescribed Fentanyl only use the drug as directed by a medical professional. The abuse of Fentanyl can begin an addiction to this powerful drug, and can even lead to an early death from such complications as overdose. There have even been increased death rates in regards to the abuse of Fentanyl patches, either by ingesting the patch or removing the full dose from the patch and injecting or smoking it. It is most commonly sold under the brand names of Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, and Sublimaze.


Klonopin, is a central nervous system depressant which falls into a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Klonopin is the brand name for the generic name, clonazepam. It is commonly prescribed to treat such conditions as anxiety, seizure disorders, and panic disorders. It comes as a tablet to be swallowed and a tablet made to dissolve quickly in the mouth. The abuse of Klonopin is a concern among ages young to old. Some addictions begin from increasing the prescribed dosage as tolerance builds up, while some other addictions to this drug begin by obtaining it illegally. It is commonly referred to as “K-pin” from those selling and abusing the drug. Those prescribed Klonopin or the generic version, clonazepam, need to use this medication only as directed by a medical professional. Increasing the dosage or frequency of the drug can result in developing an addiction and other serious health effects as extreme drowsiness, loss of consciousness, muscle weakness, confusion, and even death.


Xanax is the trade name of a drug called alphrazolan. Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is typically prescribed to treat individuals suffering from panic disorders and anxiety disorders, such as social and generalized anxiety disorders. Xanax is one of the most prescribed and most abused benzodiazepines in the United States. Addiction to Xanax can begin as innocently as taking the drug as prescribed for a long period of time, or even for those who increase their dosage in order to get the same effects due to the tolerance their body has acquired for the previous dosage of the drug. Addiction also begins for those obtaining Xanax illegally through buying it from drug dealers or stealing it from those prescribed the medication. Anyone taking Xanax is strongly cautioned to take it under medical supervision and as directed. Those who may believe they have an addiction should seek professional treatment immediately to prevent serious health, financial, legal, and social consequences.


Valium is known generically as diazepam, and it comes in the forms of a pill and liquid. It is a drug used to treat such conditions as anxiety, muscle spasms, panic attacks, and insomnia. It is also commonly prescribed to be taken prior to sedation or anesthesia before some medical procedures. Valium is a highly addictive central nervous system depressant. Those taking Valium should use it exactly the way prescribed by their medical professional, and take caution of other substances and medications that should not be consumed while taking it. If one believes they may have an addiction to this drug, they are strongly urged to seek professional addiction treatment to ensure a lasting recovery and a safe withdrawal. An addiction to Valium can have serious and life-threatening effects, such as overdose, coma, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, heart attack, memory loss, and slow pulse. An addiction to this drug also affects one socially, legally, financially, mentally, and emotionally.


Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that has a high potential for abuse. It is most recommended by a medical professional to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and is available as an immediate-release tablet and extended-release capsule. Adderall is abused mostly for its euphoric and stimulating effects, but it has become increasingly popular at colleges and universities. Adderall is being referred to as “the study drug” in these cases because it allows those who take it to be able to focus better and stay awake longer. When abusing this drug, even as a study enhancing aid, there is always the risk of falling victim to an addiction or other serious legal consequences and health conditions. Adderall should only be taken as prescribed and taken with caution. If a person believes they may have an addiction to this drug, professional treatment should be sought to ensure their safety and success of recovering from the addiction.


Ritalin is the trade name for the generic drug methylphenidate. It is a central nervous system stimulant with a notorious reputation for being highly addictive. Ritalin is known by a multitude of street names, some most common being: Kibbles and Bits, Skittles, Kiddy Coke, Diet Coke, Rids, Smarties, Skippy, Vitamin R, and Pineapple. It is most often suggested, under medical supervision, for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the treatment of narcolepsy. Ritalin is most commonly prescribed in the forms of an immediate-release tablet, a chewable tablet, an extended-release capsule, and a liquid. The abuse of Ritalin is very common in the United States because it produces effects that are similar to popular illicit drugs, such as cocaine. Abusing this drug can lead to a life-altering and deadly addiction. Those suffering from this serious addiction are highly recommended to seek treatment from a professional addiction rehabilitation program.

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