Prescription Medication Abuse refers to using prescription medication in a way that is not intended by the prescribing doctor. The danger that comes with abusing prescription medication leads to the risk of becoming physically dependent or developing an addiction to certain medication. It becomes more of a risk factor for addiction when using prescription medication alongside substances such as drugs and alcohol. This behaviour can become compulsive despite the negative consequences that may arise.


  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions.
  • Experiencing poor decision-making.
  • Using medication at higher doses to experience the pleasure effects.
  • “Doctor shopping” – gathering multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
  • Sudden, excessive mood swings.
  • Poor decision-making.
  • Unusually energetic or sedated.
  • Disruptive sleeping pattern.


Some of the most popularly abused prescription medication includes:

  • Sleeping Pills is a medication that is used to help people with insomnia to fall sleep. Most sleeping pills are classified as “sedative hypnotics” and it can easily become a habit-forming behaviour to use this medication.
  • Codeine is a sedative pain reliever that is used to treat mild to moderate and more severe cases of pain. This opioid pain medication is very similar to morphine and it aims to reduce discomfort but may also cause drowsiness.
  • Pain Killers or Opioids are very effective in treating pain, but it can also become very dangerous when it is misused. Common effects that may be experienced relate to an elevated mood and euphoria. These tablets may be used as recommended by a doctor but it can easily lapse into being abused for recreational purposes.
  • Benzodiazepines or “Benzos” are also known as tranquilizers and are often used for their sedating effects. Doctors often prescribe Benzodiazepines for anxiety, insomnia and muscle relaxation. This medication is widely available and therefore often abused because of the toxic effects it produces. The combination of Benzodiazepines and alcohol can be dangerous and often times even deadly.

Recovery SA


Treatment for Prescription Medication Addiction will consist of detoxification, rehabilitation, counselling and recovery support. If you or a loved one have been abusing prescription medication, get help today by calling our helpline on 073 470 4649 for professional guidance with regards your treatment options.

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