Prescription drugs are among the most commonly misused substances in the U.S., leading to an opioid overdose crisis. But what exactly are the most addictive prescription drugs? The most commonly abused, addicting prescription drugs include opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and sedatives. While these drugs are typically prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, they can also be extremely dangerous when taken without proper supervision or in larger doses than prescribed.
If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription drug abuse, get help today. Our prescription drug addiction treatment can help you get on the path to sobriety and long-term recovery.
Opioids vs. Opiates
Opioids are the most addictive of all prescription drugs. They’re often prescribed for pain relief, but they can be highly addictive due to their euphoric effects on the brain and body. Examples of opioids include Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and morphine.
The terms “opioid” and “opiate” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different types of drugs. Opioids are synthetic substances created in a lab that can mimic natural opiate painkillers, while opiates come directly from opium poppy plants (e.g., heroin). Both opioids and opiates can be highly addictive due to their ability to activate dopamine receptors in the brain and produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.
Most Addictive Prescription Drugs
The most addictive prescription drugs include:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
These drugs are all opiates or opioids. They all have been shown to have powerful effects on the body’s reward system and can lead to physical dependence if taken for long periods of time or in high doses. While some of these drugs are prescribed for legitimate medical purposes, others have been diverted from legal channels for recreational use—which can significantly increase their potential for abuse and addiction.
It is also important to note that even short-term use of these medications can be dangerous; when abused or taken without a physician’s supervision, they can cause serious side effects, including respiratory depression, CNS depression, coma, and death.
Not Just Opioids
When it comes to the most addictive drugs, though, opioids aren’t the only ones to consider. Barbiturates are powerful central nervous system depressants that are prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, but they can be highly addictive and dangerous when taken in large doses.
Other medications with a high potential for abuse and addiction include:
- Stimulants (e.g., amphetamines)
- Sedatives (e.g., sleeping pills)
Benzodiazepines, stimulants, and sedatives are all drugs commonly used to treat mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, they also have a high potential for abuse due to their ability to produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria.
No matter what type of prescription drug you’re taking, it’s important to use them responsibly and only as prescribed by your doctor. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a prescription drug addiction, learn about addiction treatment options in Waltham today.
Discover Treatment In Waltham, MA
For those struggling with a physical dependence on prescription medications—or those who suspect they may have developed an addiction—seeking help from an experienced addiction specialist is essential in order to begin the journey toward recovery. At a treatment center in Massachusetts, we offer comprehensive care in Waltham, Massachusettes.
We specialize in helping individuals struggling with substance misuse find lasting recovery through evidence-based treatments such as medication-assisted therapy combined with counseling and support groups. If you or someone you know needs help overcoming an addiction involving any type of prescription medication, get help today. A brighter future is possible.