Home » Blog » Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

Commonly abused prescription medications are wreaking havoc on communities across the country. People can buy and illicitly sell these drugs on the street to get high, due to the ease of access. Sometimes, doctors prescribe these medications to treat legitimate medical conditions, and eventually lead to patient tolerance and dependence. This results in using more and more.

As the doses get higher, addiction occurs leading to adverse reactions to these medications. Knowing commonly abused medications can help someone identify potential abuse in a loved one, or even themself.


Some of the most dangerous and commonly abused prescription medications include benzodiazepines. These treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizure disorders and insomnia.

They are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that can cause extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, and slurred speech, and if overused can lead to unconsciousness. Alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) and diazepam (Valium) are commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. Abusing these, or even when taken as prescribed, can lead to a physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines.

Codeine and Morphine

Prescription painkillers like codeine and morphine are some of the other more commonly abused prescription medications. Opioids lead to effects of euphoria, reduced pain, and impaired thinking. Abuse of opioid medications can lead to severe impacts to an individual’s life, and can be extremely dangerous.

These medications treat mild to severe pain, either from surgery, injury, or chronic pain conditions. However, medications like codeine and morphine can lead to physical dependence resulting in the need for detox.


Sedatives such as phenobarbital help with the treatment of anxiety, sleep, and some seizure disorders. However, using barbiturates more than prescribed can lead to addiction to them. High doses of these drugs can be dangerous, leading to decreased respiratory function.

Those who find themselves struggling with barbiturates should seek professional medical detox to overcome the struggle as going into withdrawal can be dangerous, and these settings can help ensure safety and success. 

Sleep Meds

Commonly abused prescription medications include sleep medications. These include things like Ambien and Lunesta. They help people who have trouble sleeping get much-needed rest. However prolonged use can result in needing these medications to get any amount of sleep.

While sleep medications may not be as addictive as other prescription medications, medical professionals have a growing concern surrounding the misuse of prescription sleep aids. 

Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet

Other common prescription painkillers include Vicodin, Lorcet, and Lortab. These can be used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain, and can result in dependence if used for prolonged periods.

These medications contain opioid properties and can be physically and psychologically addictive, leading to severe impacts on a person’s life if left untreated. The sudden cessation of these medications can result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Oxycontin and Percocet

Oxycontin and Percocet are dangerous opioid painkillers that can also result in physical and psychological dependence when used more than prescribed or for prolonged periods. Commonly abused prescription medications can have a profound effect on the health and well-being of the individual using them, and these medications are no different.

Leading to severe and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, anyone who finds themselves struggling to end the use of these medications should seek professional help as soon as possible.


Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines. It helps to prevent someone from coughing. However, large doses of dextromethorphan can result in a euphoric high that can lead to hallucinations. High doses of this common over-the-counter drug can result in vomiting, rapid heart rate, and although rare, brain damage may occur.


Another commonly abused over-the-counter medication is pseudoephedrine. It is found in many non-prescription cough and cold medications and can help with cough and runny nose. However, pseudoephedrine is an ingredient also found in the illicit street drug methamphetamine or meth.

Because of its potential for abuse and use for making illegal substances, the sale of pseudoephedrine is highly controlled and monitored.


Commonly abused prescription medications include medications used in the treatment of ADHD. Methylphenidate is a stimulant found in ADHD medications like Concerta and Ritalin.

It is common to mix these drugs with over-the-counter decongestants, which may result in dangerous effects. High blood pressure and irregular heartbeat can be concerning and should be addressed by medical doctors.


Adderall is another commonly abused prescription drug. It is another medication that treats symptoms of ADHD, and has a high potential for abuse.

Amphetamines like Adderall can have a high potential for abuse due to its effects of increased energy, alertness, and ability to cause weight loss. They can be highly addictive, and at high doses, this medication can cause potentially dangerous and life-threatening effects.

Overcome Prescription Medication Addiction

Prescription medications are some of the most easily abused substances available. Because of the ease of access and their effects, these substances tend to be something that people turn to to cope or just feel a sense of euphoria. But this practice can be deadly.

For those struggling with prescription drug abuse, there is help available. At Brentwood Detox we offer care that caters to the individual needs of those who come to us for help. If you or a loved one are struggling, recovery is possible. It all starts with a phone call.

Reach out today and begin your journey of healing and recovery.

24/7 Help Is Standing By, Call Us Now.

24/7 Help Is Standing By, Call Us Now.