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Larimer County Drug Task Force

NORTHERN COLORADO DRUG TASK FORCE

Prescription Medications
Prescription drug abuse is an emerging problem, and one that is showing an increasing trend. Teenagers and young adults are among those who use drugs non-medically which include prescription pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives, and tranquilizers.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to prescription drug abuse and misuse because they are prescribed more medications than their younger counterparts, placing them at higher risk for misuse, dependence, and addiction.

Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetime.
prescription medications

Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include:
  • opioids (often prescribed to treat pain),
  • central nervous system depressants (often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and
  • stimulants (prescribed to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity).
Some of the most common abused prescription drugs are OxyContin, Darvon, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Demerol, Lomotil, Nembutal, Valium, Xanax, Dexedrine, and Ritalin. The abuse of certain prescription drugs - opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants - can alter the brain's activity and lead to addiction. While prescription drugs can have great medical benefits when taken under the supervision of a physician, inappropriate use can lead to addiction, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, and irregular heartbeat.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Drug Tip Hotline
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