If you take a medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed, it is called prescription drug misuse. It could be:
- Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else
- Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to
- Taking the medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. This might be crushing tablets and then snorting or injecting them.
- Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high
Misusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. These include opioids, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants.
Every medicine has some risk of side effects. Doctors take this into account when prescribing medicines. People who misuse these drugs may not understand the risks. The medicines may not be safe for them, especially at higher doses or when taken with other medicines.
NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Anabolic Steroids: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Benzodiazepines (Drug Enforcement Administration)
- Stimulant ADHD Medications -- Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of Central Nervous System Stimulants among Adults Aged 18 to 34 Increased between 2005 and 2011 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Popping Pills: Prescription Drug Abuse in America (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF
- Which Classes of Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Misused? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Characteristics and correlates of U.S. clinicians prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use...
- Article: Expanding access to nurse-managed medication for opioid use disorder.
- Article: Increasing Rates of Opioid Prescriptions for Gastrointestinal Diseases in the United...
- Prescription Drug Misuse -- see more articles