With the growth of the internet, numerous websites have sprouted up claiming to sell prescription drugs online.

While some legitimate pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have websites for renewing your prescriptions, many more sites have appeared that are illegal and dangerous. Some of these sites are only interested in getting your credit card information.

Others may sell fake medication, which can be dangerous, even deadly. Even those who sell legitimate medicine are required to ask for a prescription. If they don’t, you could be committing a federal crime by buying from them.

If you’re not 100 percent sure a site is legitimate, an organization called VIPPs (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) provides an up-to-date list of online pharmacies who will deal with you honestly – and not get you in trouble with the law.

One side effect of this online marketplace is that it’s become easier than ever for people with an addiction to obtain more drugs. Since the addicted person isn’t running out of drugs and going into withdrawal, friends, family members, and doctors can oftentimes miss the signs of addiction.

Another common source of drugs is theft. This is why it’s important for parents, in particular, to keep an eye on all prescriptions. When disposing of old medications, never flush them down the toilet unless the bottle specifically directs you to do so.

Instead, mix the pills with something that looks disgusting, like wet coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put them in a Ziploc bag, and throw them out with your regular trash. Make sure to remove all labels from any prescription bottles when you dispose of them.

Commonly Abused Drugs

There are many prescription drugs that can be abused, but the most commonly abused prescription drugs fall into the following three categories.

  • Opioids – Powerful pain medications like morphine, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Norco are all opioids and therefore, extremely addictive. These drugs are generally given after surgery or for chronic pain.

When a person becomes addicted, they can require progressively higher doses to obtain pain relief. High doses can cause extreme drowsiness, loss of coordination, and confusion.

It is possible for a patient to accidentally overdose on these medicines and die, especially if they are also drinking alcohol or taking other drugs. Withdrawal can cause vomiting and extreme anxiety.

  • Sedatives – Xanax, Atavan, Ambien and Valium are often prescribed for stress, anxiety and sleep disorders. Some people become addicted to these and will need dangerous levels of the drug to achieve any effect.

High doses can cause loss of balance, drowsiness, and in the worst cases, loss of consciousness or death, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs.

  • Stimulants – Drugs like Adderall, Ritalin and Dexedrine and Concerta are primarily prescribed for ADD or ADHD. Over time, the patient can build a tolerance and require more of the drug.

In high doses, these drugs can cause paranoia, anxiety, and insomnia. Extremely high doses may be fatal, particularly when the stimulant was taken with another drug.