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Prescription Drug Abuse

Summary

If you take a medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed, it is called prescription drug abuse. It could be

  • Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else
  • Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to
  • Taking the medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. This might be crushing tablets and then snorting or injecting them.
  • Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high

Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. These include opioids, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants.

Every medicine has some risk of side effects. Doctors take this into account when prescribing medicines. People who abuse these drugs may not understand the risks. The medicines may not be safe for them, especially at higher doses or when taken with other medicines.

NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Start Here

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Drug Testing From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Specifics

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health Infographic (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF
  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • (Partnership for a Drug-Free America)
  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Patient Handouts

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