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Abusing prescription drugs can result in legal consequences

When you think of crimes involving drugs, you may think of substances like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. However, prescription medications are commonly misused, too. Taking prescription drugs not prescribed to you or in a manner not instructed by your doctor is unlawful, as is selling them. According to WebMD, approximately 20% of the U.S. population has used prescription medicals for nonmedical reasons at some point.

The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is becoming more common. Here are the types of medications that are abused the most.

Opioids and morphine

More than 130 Americans die every day because of opioid overdoses. While these medicines can be useful in treating moderate to severe pain, they are dangerous when not used correctly. Prescription painkillers are some of the most addictive substances. Commonly abused painkillers include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Vicodin

The health risks of abusing these drugs include depressed breathing, coma, seizures and vomiting. When people build up a tolerance and become addicted to these drugs, the end result is often a fatal overdose.


Stimulant drugs that belong to the amphetamine and methylphenidate categories treat ADD, depression and narcolepsy. While these medications can be helpful in these contexts, they are harmful when abused. Ritalin and Adderall are the most common types of stimulants. 


Benzodiazepines treat anxiety, panic and sleep disorders. They are central nervous system depressants and provide patients with a sense of calm and wellbeing. While they can be helpful for treating mental health problems, they are often abused. Xanax and Valium are the most abused drugs in this category. A lot of people who abuse these medications mix them with other substances such as alcohol or opioids. 

Misusing any kind of prescription drug can not only cause adverse health effects, but it may also result in legal trouble.

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