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The forgotten problems: Prescription drugs and addiction

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There’s something of a stigma related to drug addiction – a myth some would say. Many believe that addiction only occurs in those individuals who turn to the illegal drugs, like cocaine or heroin, and everyone else is exempt from the definition.

Suffice to say, it’s completely incorrect. We’ve seen some huge advancements in the addiction industry over the years – not least the alternative methods of treatment utilized by the likes of Erik Bugen. Unfortunately, it’s still an industry which is somewhat sidelined by historical untruths and one of these is prescription drugs.

Contrary to what a lot of people might think, you can be addicted to prescription drugs just as you might be an illegal substance. In fact, in a lot of cases the method of treatment will be the same.

To highlight our case some more, here are some of the most common prescription drugs that are misused and cause a form of drug addiction.


Strictly speaking, Valium is something that is used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, this is one of the primary prescription drugs which is overused.

As well as helping with the above problems, a lot of people “appreciate” Valium due to its ability to almost mimic the effects of alcohol. In other words, it can relax a person, and even make them more talkative.

It means it has become a hugely common drug which is overused. Considering the fact that blackouts and death are possible through overdosing on this substance, it stands to reason that it’s a concern.


It appears strange that a medication which is primarily used to control coughing and pain could prove to be addictive. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Codeine is; it’s another substance that is commonly misused.

The reason for the above is simple; people become over-reliant on Codeine. Its strength is enough to mask away a lot of pain and as such, particularly amongst those individuals who might have long-term medical conditions, it can be difficult to stop using.


There are some scary facts behind this next addition to our list and it’s unsurprising that Ritalin has become such an addictive substance. In 2005, reports suggested that Ritalin and similar equivalents were prescribed no fewer than 29 million times.

In truth, there are not 29 million people who need to use this drug for everyday use. While it is extremely powerful when used for its proper reasons, of treating ADD and ADHD, the fact that it increases dopamine levels by such high amounts means that it is often turned to for the wrong reasons.


You may have seen this final drug sold as OxyContin, or as a form of Percocet. In short, its a pain killer and if we bring numbers into the equation again, it’s understood that Oxycodone is administered around 6 million times every year.

Just like some of the other drugs we have looked at, the way in which Oxycodone numbs pain can make it popular amongst a lot of people who are suffering with long-term problems.