Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

4. How is addiction to illicit drugs different from addiction to prescription medication?

Addiction is the compulsive seeking and use of a drug despite known harmful consequences. The behaviors brought on by addiction are often the same regardless of what drug a person is addicted to, legal or illegal. In fact, some prescription medications act the same way in the brain as illegal drugs. For example, both heroin and many prescription painkillers activate opiate receptors in the brain.