Prescription Drugs Cold Medicines
What is Prescription Drug Abuse:
Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—that is, taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Learn more
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Commonly Abused Drugs:
Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy).
- Fentanyl (Duragesic®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon®)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
- Meperidine (Demerol®)
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil®)
Central nervous system depressants include:
- Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
- Diazepam (Valium®)
- Alprazolam (Xanax®)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®)
- Amphetamines (Adderall®)
Statistics and Trends
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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2015 (in percent)*
* Data in brackets indicate statistically significant change from the previous year. Previous MTF Data
The use of any prescription drug includes use of any of the following: amphetamines, sedatives (barbiturates), narcotics other than heroin, or tranquilizers “…without a doctor telling you to use them.”
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National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Psychotherapeutics (Nonmedical Use) for Ages 12 or Older, Ages 12 to 17, Ages 18 to 25, and Ages 26 or Older; 2014 (in percent)*
Ages 12 or Older
Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.
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This page was last updated May 2016
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription Drugs Cold Medicines Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/prescription-drugs-cold-medicines
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Prescribing Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Pain
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