Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse has become rampant in the United States. They may be legal drugs, but they are not safe to take unless you are taking them exactly as prescribed by a physician that is treating you for a current problem. Unfortunately, even then some patients develop physical dependence and addictions that they have difficulty overcoming without professional help.

There are three types of prescription drugs that are abused most often:

  • Opioids—prescribed for pain relief
  • CNS depressants—barbiturates and benzodiazepines prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems (often referred to as sedatives or tranquilizers)
  • Stimulants—prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the sleep disorder narcolepsy, or obesity.

 

 Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs Chart

Name Street Names Administered Health Risks

Depressants

Barbiturates Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital; barbs, reds, red birds, phennies, tooies, yellows, yellow jackets Injected, swallowed Lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, tolerance, withdrawal, addiction; increased risk of respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol; fever; and irritability/life-threatening withdrawal in chronic users
Benzodiazepines Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium, Xanax; candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranks Swallowed Lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, tolerance, withdrawal, addiction; increased risk of respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol
Sleep Medications Ambien (zolpidem), Sonata (zaleplon), Lunesta (eszopiclone); forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, roofies, roofinol, rope, rophies Swallowed, snorted Lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, tolerance, withdrawal, addiction; increased risk of respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol

Opioids & Morphine Derivatives

Codeine Empirin with Codeine, Fiorinal with Codeine, Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine; Captain Cody, Cody, schoolboy; (with glutethimide: doors & fours, loads, pancakes and syrup) Injected, swallowed Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants
Morphine Roxanol, Duramorph; M, Miss Emma, monkey, white stuff Injected, swallowed, smoked Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants
Methadone Methadose, Dolophine; fizzies, amidone, (with MDMA: chocolate chip cookies) Swallowed, injected Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants; significant overdose risk when used improperly
Fentanyl & analogs Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze; Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, Tango and Cash Injected, smoked, snorted Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants; 80-100 times more potent analgesic than morphine
Other opioid pain relievers: Oxycodone HCL, Hydrocodone Bitartrate Hydromorphone, Oxymorphone, Meperidine, Propoxyphene Tylox, Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet: Oxy, O.C., oxycotton, oxycet, hillbilly
heroin, percs
Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet; Vike, Watson-387
Dilaudid; juice, smack, D, footballs, dillies
Opana, Numporphan, Numorphone; biscuits, blue heaven, blues, Mrs. O, octagons, stop signs, O bomb
Demerol, meperidine hydrochloride; demmies, pain killer
Darvon, Darvocet
Chewed, swallowed, snorted, injected, suppositories Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants; muscle relaxation/twice as potent analgesic as morphine; high abuse potential

Stimulants

Amphetamines Biphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderall; bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppers Injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, reduced appetite, weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, seizures, heart attack, stroke, rapid breathing, tremor, loss of coordination, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness/delirium, panic, paranoia, hallucinations, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction
Methylphenidate Concerta, Ritalin; JIF, MPH, R-ball, Skippy, the smart drug, vitamin R Injected, swallowed, snorted Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, reduced appetite, weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, seizures, heart attack, stroke, increase or decrease in blood pressure, digestive problems, loss of appetite, weight loss

Other Compounds

Dextromethorphan (DXM) Found in some cough and cold medicines; Robotripping, Robo, Triple C Swallowed Increased heart rate and blood pressure, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, paranoia, distorted visual perceptions, impaired motor function