There are many potential negative effects of prescription drug abuse. Depending on the type of drug abused, users may be at risk of hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or even death. It’s important to remember that prescription drugs can have negative effects even when taken as prescribed.
For example, patients are advised not to drive when under the influence of opioid pain medications, because opioids can cause drowsiness and decreased reaction times. Similarly, people are advised not to operate heavy machinery after taking sleep medications, because they might fall asleep and kill somebody.
When abused, the negative effects of drugs become magnified, and they can become dangerous even under everyday circumstances. The dangers of drug abuse are different for different drugs. Here, we will examine the negative effects of the three most commonly abused types of prescription drugs: opioids, sedatives and stimulants.
- The Dangers Of Opioid Abuse – Opioids are some of the most addictive drugs in the world. When taken in large quantities, they can cause confusion, intense euphoria, and loss of coordination. With addiction, opioids can lose their effectiveness and pain may become worse. Extremely high doses can cause loss of consciousness, slowed breathing, and potentially death. Some opioids, like Fentanyl, are so powerful that even therapeutic doses can be lethal when combined with even small quantities of alcohol or other opioids.
- The Dangers Of Sedative Abuse – Sedative addiction can cause increased tolerance. When this happens, more of the drug is required to achieve the same effect, usually anxiety relief or a need for sleep. Use of these large quantities can cause memory loss, and significantly large doses can cause unconsciousness and death.
- The Dangers Of Stimulant Abuse – Stimulants are usually prescribed for ADD, ADHD or certain sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Like sedatives and opiates, addiction to these drugs can cause increased tolerance and a need for higher doses. These higher doses can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, anxiety and paranoia. Extremely high doses of these drugs can cause a person to go into cardiac arrest or suffer a stroke due to high blood pressure.
Not All Dangers Are Medical
While all of these medical dangers are serious, addiction also has other dangers that go beyond the medical realm. Changes in behavior can cause a person to become aggressive and damage their relationships with family and friends.
Anxiety and paranoia can also damage personal relationships, leading to a vicious cycle of anxiety and loss. Drugs may cause them to act inappropriately at work and lose their job. Other consequences can include car accidents due to being high, and getting injured or being arrested for DUI.
Addictions can also cause people to break the law in order to feed their need for more and more of the drug. People may steal pills or money from relatives, they may attempt to get prescriptions from multiple doctors and end up in jail for fraud.
They may look for pills online, and have their identity stolen or get a counterfeit medicine that causes a negative reaction.