Skip to content

Prescription Drug Abuse

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Prescription drug abuse includes many types of drug misuse, from taking another person’s ADHD medication to snorting or injecting ground-up painkiller tablets to get high. Teens tend to obtain medications for prescription drug abuse from family and friends. Many teenagers believe that since a medication is prescribed, it’s not dangerous.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescribed medication without a prescription, in a manner other than prescribed. A prescription drug abuse definition encompasses the misuse of prescription medications for nonmedical reasons. The causes of prescription drug abuse include an individual’s addictive desire for reward and relief, as well as the desire to self-medicate due to underlying mental health conditions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug misuse and prescription drug abuse occurs among 48 million Americans (aged 12 and older). In other words, approximately 20 percent of the US population has admitted to prescription drug misuse or shown prescription drug abuse signs.

Drug misuse emergency department visits and prescription drug abuse treatment admissions have risen significantly in the 21st century. Negative outcomes that may result from prescription drug abuse include overdose and death. Prescription drug abuse recovery options include outpatient or residential treatment for prescription drug abuse rehab.

Sources: The Mayo ClinicNational Institute on Drug AbuseSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration