Medical drugs can be classified into two categories, which are prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Prescription drugs can be only given to individuals by a pharmacist or doctor. In addition, the individual must have a valid prescription that has been issued by a medical professional. In contrast, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medications that can be purchased from a pharmacy or drug store without a prescription. Some OTC drugs have psychoactive effects, which can cause individuals to abuse them. Moreover, abuse of these drugs can quickly develop into addictions and serious drug problems.
Some OTC drugs that are commonly abused by users include Adderall, Vicodin, cough medicine, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, and sedatives. For instance, Adderall is a drug that is considered a stimulant, and it is used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Similarly, Vicodin is considered a strong pain reliever. However, the most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold medicines.
People tend to think that OTC drugs are less dangerous than other types of illicit drugs. However, this is only the case when OTC drugs are taken exactly as prescribed and for the prescribed purposes. If a person is taking more of an OTC drug than was prescribed or taking them for purposes other than the reason that was discussed with a doctor, OTC drugs can be very addictive. Moreover, these drugs can even be very harmful or lethal to the consumer, especially if they are mixed with other drugs or alcohol. In most cases, individuals who abuse OTC drugs will be at risk of overdosing and causing fatal damage to their organs.
There are four ways in which OTC drugs can be abused. Firstly, drug abuse can be characterized by consuming an OTC drug without a purpose or reason for consumption. Instead of tossing away drugs that are no longer needed, it is consumed for no other reason than to feel the effects of the drug in the body. Secondly, the drug can be given to another family member or to friends so that these individuals do not need to go through a medical professional in order to obtain the drug; this is considered a type of drug abuse. Moreover, the most common type of drug abuse involves an individual taking more of a particular drug than is required to treat a particular problem or condition. Most medications are supposed to be taken orally; however, drug abusers will find other ways to consume more of the drug. For instance, users can choose to crush pills and snort them in the form of a powder. In severe cases, drug abusers will find ways to inject the drug intravenously. As a result, the drug can enter the body quickly, while providing an amplified effect of the drug in the body. Finally, abuse of OTC drugs can also involve consumption for purposes that have not been prescribed by a doctor. For instance, some individuals choose to consume OTC drugs in order to get high, which is the type of drug abuse that typically leads to an addiction to prescription drugs.
Over-the-counter drugs can affect the brain in similar ways that other illegal drugs can affect the users. For example, some stimulants, such as Ritalin, affect the same neurotransmitters as cocaine would in the body, while some pain killers, such as Oxycontin, act in a similar way as heroin behaves and affects the body. Furthermore, some prescription depressants will behave in the same manner as a club drug known as “GHB” would in the body, as it is known for producing calm feelings and a sense of relaxation. All of these drugs increase the amount of dopamine released in the brain, which is most commonly associated with causing feeling of pleasure and euphoria. These sensations are considered the most common reasons for using these drugs.
As mentioned above, some people think that OTC drugs are not as dangerous as other illicit drugs, but do not be fooled. OTC drugs are as dangerous as other types of illegal drugs, and in some cases, they can be more dangerous because users are unaware of their side effects on the body. Most importantly, abuse of OTC drugs can lead to other forms of drug abuse and addictions, which can be more difficult to stop and overcome.