Risk of Misuse and Effects

Misuse occurs when a person uses someone else’s prescription drugs—even if they are using that drug for its intended purposes. Misuse also occurs when a person takes their own medication in a way that was not prescribed by their doctor. It’s also considered misuse if a person takes their medication to get high or if prescription drugs are mixed with other substances such as alcohol.

Misusing prescription drugs can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being. Even though opioids can help relieve pain, they can also cause constipation and sleepiness. Stimulants such as Adderall can help with concentration but can also lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate.

Misusing prescription drugs can also alter your well-being, behavior, and decision-making skills, which may put you at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV.

Prescription Drugs’ Effects on Your Brain

Each prescription drug may affect your brain in a different way. This is because prescription drugs have the ability to change the actions of neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain.

Risk of Overdosing

Prescription drugs are made up of strong chemicals that typically require a doctor’s prescription. The risk of overdose and death is high if an individual misuses prescription drugs. In 2017, the District has had approximately 149 deaths due to opioid overdoses.