Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

6. How does intentional abuse of prescription medications occur?

Intentional abuse occurs when a person knowingly uses prescription medications the wrong way, takes medicines not prescribed for them, or combines them with alcohol or illicit drugs. People may do this to get high, to feel better, or to calm down.

Sometimes a big change, such as retirement, the death of a loved one, or failing health, can lead to loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or depression. That can prompt a person to begin, continue, or increase the abuse of medications or other drugs.

A person may think that taking the medicine is safe, no matter what, because a doctor prescribed it. But taking too much of a medication, or taking it in ways other than how the doctor ordered, is not safe.