Prescription drug abuse remains a growing concern in our society. Opiates such as Morphine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Librium, and others grow in popularity for substance abuse. It doesn’t discriminate against race, education levels, age, or economic backgrounds. All ages are susceptible to becoming addicted to prescription medications.

Physicians prescribe opiates for post-surgical pain, following an injury, or other valid medical issues. While receiving pain meds is warranted, many people become addicted when pain relievers are overused or used for too long. Statistics show people addicted to these medications are also most likely to use illegal drugs.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Individuals dependent on prescription drugs have a psychological need or craving for the medication with negative consequences. Addicts will typically lie about needing them even when their pain is gone. Their behavior changes with a decline in social interactions and recreational activities; they usually spend time and money obtaining and using drugs. These behaviors also change family dynamics with regards to strained relations; addicts may do what they believe is necessary to keep using the medicine.

Depending on what drug a person uses, their disposition to it, and how long they’ve been using it, an addiction can develop rapidly; this increases symptoms and is why a doctor and family/friends must recognize the signs one is beginning an addiction. Some of these signs include:

  • Making excuses to get more of the drug
  • Anger when a physician limits doses
  • Irritability at family or friends
  • Behavior changes from anxiety to depression
  • Doctor shopping” to get a new prescription of the medication
  • Getting painkillers from other sources such as ordering online, stealing other people’s leftover drugs, buying other people’s prescriptions, or buying them off the street
  • Feeling angry if someone talks to them about their medication

If you notice these signs in yourself, a loved one, or friend, a medically-supervised detoxification program becomes necessary.

Prescription Drug Types & Medications

Many drugs have habit-forming substances in them, which have resulted in increased hospital visits and drug treatment cases in the last few decades. Synthetic opioids like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone form many pain-relieving drugs. Brand names of the most abused painkillers include Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Here are the prescription type, medication type, and associated brand names for these potentially addictive drugs.


  • Codeine (Robitussin, Tylenol 3, Soma, Colorex)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq)
  • Hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Morphine (Roxinol, Duramorph)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycodone, Roxicet, Percodan)


  • Sleep Aid (Ambian, Lunesta)
  • Barbiturates (Luminal, Nembutal)
  • Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Limbitrol)


  • Amphetamine-based (Adderall)
  • Methylphenidate-based (Ritalin, Concerta)


Explanation of Drug Types



A class of prescription drugs, opioids are better known as Percocet, Percodan, Codeine, Oxycontin, and Vicodin, and Morphine. These drugs block the brain’s pain perception, with a release of dopamine—which can quickly develop into an addiction. Using these drugs per their prescribed doses won’t cause harm, but in high doses, even with one high dose, it could result in respiratory failure or death. When used with alcohol or other substances, the danger increases.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Otherwise known as tranquilizers or sedatives, central nervous depressants slow down brain functioning and affect people by eliciting a feeling of calm or drowsiness. They are used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Librium, and Valium, fall into this category. Long-term use of these drugs can lead to dependency or addiction to them and other class medications. If someone stops the drug quickly, seizures could result.


These classes of drugs do exactly as states; they stimulate a person, making them more alert and full of energy. College students may use these types of drugs when cramming for exams and finals. Doctors often use them for ADHD, fatigue, tiredness, and depression. They give a person a feeling of euphoria and wanting more when they come down off them. When taken, stimulants raise heart rate and blood pressure. However, taking large amounts of these drugs can cause irregular heartbeats and heart failure in some cases. Withdrawal symptoms can include irregular sleep patterns, such as insomnia, fatigue, and depression.

Those who suffer from prescription pain medication addiction will likely need a professional rehab center to make a complete recovery.