Frequently Asked Questions

Prescription drug abuse or misuse refers to the nonmedical use of prescription medications, that is any controlled drug that you must get from a pharmacy that is used for something other than the purpose it was intended for.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

The prescription drugs that are usually abused are opioids, tranquilizers, stimulants and amphetamines, and sedatives and barbiturate's.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Opioids are pain medications that contain morphine, codeine or oxycodone such as Oxycodone, Percocet, Tylenol 1,2,3 &4, Demerol and Vicodin that are usually used for pain relief.

Tranquilizers include benzodiazepines such as Valium, Ativan or Xanax that are prescribed to reduce stress and panic attacks.

Stimulants include such drugs as Dexedrine and Ritalin used to treat ADHD, whereas barbiturates are those such as Nembutalthat are used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizures.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Some of the short term effects include constipation, drowsiness, depressed respiration, increased heart rate, sleep deprivation, and suppressed appetite.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Long term use can cause negative side effects such as severe respiratory depression, death, seizures, irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular failure or feelings of paranoia or hostility. There is added danger of severe reactions or death if prescription drugs are combined with any other drugs or alcohol.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

People who use opioids without medical supervision develop tolerance to the effects of the drug and must use more and more of the drug to obtain the same effect resulting in a psychological and physical dependence or addiction.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Addiction to opioids can have serious effects physically, causing mood changes, constricted pupils, constipation, menstrual irregularities as well as social, financial and emotional effects.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

If someone is physically dependent on opioids such as Oxycontin, they will begin to have withdrawal symptoms from 6 to 12 hrs after they stop taking the drug. Symptoms will include yawning, tears, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, runny nose and a strong craving for the drug.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Usually symptoms will decrease after 7 days, although anxiety, insomnia and craving for the drug may continue for a long time afterwards.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

Talk to a health care professional or community addictions worker who can provide counselling, support and referral to a detox or treatment centre if necessary.

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)

If you answer "yes" to 3 or more of these questions you may be at a higher risk for having a problem with prescription drugs and should seek help.

  • Has your doctor, spouse, family member or friend expressed concern over your use of medications?
  • Have you ever decided to stop taking pills only to find yourself taking them again anyway?
  • Have you ever felt bad or concerned about the pills you have taken?
  • Has your efficiency or motivation decreased since taking pills?
  • Do you have a supply of pills hidden in your pocket or purse in case of emergency?
  • Have you ever been treated by a doctor or hospital for taking too many pills?
  • Have you changed doctors or drug stores to maintain a supply of pills?
  • Have you received the same prescription from 2 or more doctors or pharmacists at around the same time?
  • Have you ever been turned down for a refill of your medication?
  • Have you ever informed your doctor of which pill works best, at what dosage and then had your prescription changed to your recommendations?
  • Have you used a tranquilizer or sleep medication for months or years without any improvement in the problem?
  • Have you increased the dosage, strength or frequency of your medication over the past months or years?
  • Is your medication quite important to you, that is do you worry about refills long before you run out?
  • Do you become annoyed or uncomfortable when others talk to you about your use of pills?
  • Have you or anyone else noticed a change of personality when you take pills or stop taking pills?
  • Have you ever taken medication before you had any symptoms?
  • Have you ever been embarrassed by your behaviour under the influence of your prescription drug?
  • Do you ever sneak, hide or steal pills?
  • Do you find it impossible to stop or go for a long period without your pills?

(Source: http://www.prescription-drug-abuse.org)