What Prescription Drugs are Most Commonly Abused?

Prescription drugs are commonly prescribed to make one feel better. But some people abuse prescription drugs leading to dependency issues that worsen everything. Substance abuse reduces mental and physical health and leads to problems in your professional and personal life. 

This article will answer the question of which prescription drugs are most commonly abused and what you can do to get treatment for prescription drug abuse. 


Are Prescription Drugs Addictive? 

Not all prescription drugs are addictive, but there are many that are. The difference between addictive and non-addictive prescription drugs depends on whether they produce withdrawal symptoms. 

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body gets used to having the drug in its system. When the person is without the drug, they are unable to function normally. They start feeling symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and agitation. 

They know the only way to get rid of these symptoms short-term is to do more of the drug. This sets them on a vicious cycle of addiction. 

You can reduce the risk of prescription drug addiction by taking medications according to a doctor’s dosage recommendations. However, many people take an excessive amount of prescribed drugs. 

They may do this to treat an underlying mental health condition, or they may feel they need more of the drug to deal with their symptoms. But taking an unhealthy amount of a prescription drug will do more harm than good in the long run. 


What Prescription Drugs Are Most Commonly Abused?

There are several types of prescription drugs that are commonly abused. Here are some that are likely to lead to a prescription drug addiction. 


Opioids are commonly prescribed for pain. They produce a euphoric feeling and stimulate the reward center in the brain. This makes people want more of the drug after the effects wear off. 

There are several types of opioids that are likely to cause addiction, including: 

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine


Benzodiazepines are a type of depressant that acts on GABA receptors in the brain. They slow down activity in the brain, making the user feel calm and sleepy. They are often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep problems. 

Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include:

  • Clonazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Diazepam


Barbiturates are similar to benzodiazepines in that they interact with GABA receptors in the brain to produce feelings of calmness and sleepiness. They can be used to treat anxiety and seizures. However, they are not as commonly used as benzos because of their tendency to produce dangerous side effects. 

Phenobarbital is a barbiturate used to treat seizures. Butalbital is another type of drug and can be found in migraine medications. 


Stimulants increase the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain-boosting alertness, energy, and focus. They are typically used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. They increase dopamine production, causing feelings of happiness that make people want to do more of the drug. 

Popular types of stimulants include:

  • Amphetamines
  • Methylphenidates

Other Potentially Addictive Medications

Other prescription meds that are associated with prescription drug abuse include: 

  • Muscle relaxers like carisoprodol 
  • Medications for insomnia such as Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), and Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Certain weight loss medications such as Adipex-P (phentermine)
  • Hormone replacement medication like topical and injectable testosterone
  • Medications prescribed for opioid use disorder like Suboxone (buprenorphine) 


How to Find a Prescription Drug Rehab in Malibu, CA

There are several rehabs that deal with prescription drug addiction, but it’s important to find one that’s right for you. You must consider the atmosphere, the type of treatment offered, the expertise of the staff, and more.

Rise in Malibu is a luxury rehab in Malibu offering private ensuite rooms with ocean views. Our expert staff is trained to offer the ultimate in comfort and care. We offer a dual diagnosis approach that is optimized for long-term recovery. 

Prescription drugs can be more dangerous than you think. Fortunately, treatment is available. Call Rise in Malibu today and learn more about our Southern California addiction treatment programs and how they can help you during recovery.

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