Rx Abuse Is Popping Pills Safer than Illegal Drugs?

Prescription Drugs

Have you taken Rx drugs you weren't prescribed?  Have you ever taken Rx drugs more than prescribed or when you didn't need them?  Have you taken Rx drugs that were prescribed to your parents or your friends?

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Have you taken Rx drugs:

  • to manage stress
  • because of depression
  • boredom
  • you were lonely
  • wanted to escape
  • needed to focus
  • to get better grades
  • for social reasons

Did you know that prescription drugs can have all the same adverse effects as illegal drugs?  They are highly addictive, often lead to using more dangerous drugs, and can cause death.

According to research conducted by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:

  • 1 in 4 teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.
  • 90% of addictions start in the teen years.
  • More people die from abusing prescription pain relievers than cocaine and heroin combined.

The symptoms of substance abuse and addiction are extensive and can vary from person to person. The most common signs of substance abuse include unusual behavior, changes in habits and patterns, including:

  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Distancing from family members, friends and loved ones
  • Drop in attendance or performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems
  • Sudden change in friends, hangouts and hobbies
  • Getting into trouble, such as fights, accidents and illegal activities
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; being lethargic or spaced out
  • Appears fearful, anxious or paranoid

Here is one guy's story:

In high school, I was captain of all the sports teams I was on, had good grades, and I was liked by the majority of the school population. I would go out to parties and drink frequently, which turned into a daily habit by college. I dropped out of my first college because getting drunk and smoking pot became more important than going to class. At least I had plenty of friends to drink with. I enrolled in a community college and started working for a small company. The drinking began to subside but smoking pot was now an everyday thing.

I was working from 8am to 5pm and attending night classes from 6pm to 10pm, still smoking everyday and drinking every now and again. The company I worked for was beginning to grow and my responsibilities between work, school and home were beginning to weigh on me.

My doctor prescribed me Xanax to deal with the stress and anxiety. At first, I was only taking the Xanax when I was really stressed or anxious, but that soon turned into 3 or 4 times a day. Shortly after, my life changed forever.


SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a National Helpline. Call them at:  1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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