Four of the Most Commonly Misused Medications

Currently, America faces a prescription drug addiction crisis. One of the things many people forget about addicts, though, is that they didn’t choose to become addicts. Prescription medication addiction often happens gradually, while the drug is legitimate treatment for a medical condition. Educating yourself and knowing which drugs are most likely to be misused can keep you from becoming addicted and make you more able to help addicts in your life.

Sleep Medications

Many people struggle with insomnia, so they turn to common medications such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. Many people who struggle with chronic pain take medications that have a sleep aid component. Overuse of these drugs often leads to drowsiness or sedation, which makes performing everyday tasks and life skills difficult or impossible. Overusing sleep medications can cause memory problems, confusion, and poor coordination. As a result, your work or school performance may suffer. You may also feel unsafe in your own home or vehicle.

Morphine Derivatives

Morphine is a highly addictive drug, and its derivatives can be just as harmful. They are also more common and easier to access than pure morphine. For example, codeine is a morphine derivative found in prescription cough syrups. Oxycodone and methadone overuse and addiction can slow or arrest breathing, slow the pulse rate, and cause respiratory distress, coma, even death.


Also known as speed, amphetamines increase energy and concentration. Some amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are common treatments for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Doctors commonly prescribe these medications and they are some of the easiest drugs to misuse. Misuse or addiction leads to rapid breathing and pulse, as well as mood changes and restlessness. Long-term addiction may cause tremors and coordination loss.


Opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (Vicodin) are some of the most commonly overused drugs. Physicians usually prescribe them to help patients deal with severe pain or as part of postsurgical recovery. If you are using opioids or any of the above drugs for medical reasons, it is crucial to stay in touch with your physician and apprise him or her of any changes in symptoms.

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