Drug abuse and addiction occur when a person uses any form of drug for a purpose or way other than for which it was intended. Drug abuse is most commonly associated with the use of illegal street drugs. However, drug addiction often times takes place with over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription (Rx) drugs as well.
Illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana are the most frequently thought of abused drugs; other drugs, such as alcohol, although legal, are also drugs that are frequently and severely abused. Illegal drugs and alcohol are no longer the overwhelming majority of drugs abused by teenagers, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are quickly becoming the high of choice.
In addition to street drugs many people frequently abuse over-the-counter medications. Teenagers many times use cough syrups as a cheap and legal high, however the dangers of such highs are often severely underestimated. Many people have found themselves innocently but uncontrollably addicted to antihistamines (OTC and Rx), for their drowsy sleep inducing effects. The common misconception with OTC drugs is that they are safe, and that overuse and abuse will not have any serious consequences.
There are also those people who abuse prescription drugs that are often meant to help people for particular medical conditions, drugs such as Oxycontin or Adderall. In this case, the drug addict does not actually need the drug for its intended purpose. Instead, the abuser chooses to use it in order to get high. Many times abusers will go through great lengths to obtain these drugs, resorting to theft and fraud, including theft of medications from family or friends, the writing of counterfeit prescriptions, or robbery of retail pharmacies. All of these actions have serious legal implications for those who are involved.
It’s important to remember that frequent and uncontrollable use of any drug, whether it ‘s an over-the-counter, prescription, or street drug, is an addiction. It is imperative that, upon identification of abuse and addiction, help is sought as soon as possible. By seeking help, as soon as possible, the damage to the individual, family, and friends, can be effectively limited. Through treatment those who suffer from addiction can return to a normal and healthy lifestyle.