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Pharmaceutical Substance Abuse

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When Pharmaceutical Abuse Becomes a Substance Abuse Addiction

Pharmaceuticals drugs are drugs that are manufactured for use as medicine. Pharmaceutical drugs are meant to cure and treat various physical and mental conditions. Unfortunately, some pharmaceuticals have an extremely high likelihood of being abused. Misuse begins when an individual is prescribed medications and doesn’t take them as prescribed to feel the euphoria or other effects that comes with higher and frequent doses of the medication.

Later, this can lead to physical and psychological dependence, leaving an individual stuck on an unraveling web of addiction. The most commonly misused pharmaceutical medications are opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants. Opioids and central nervous system depressants are the most commonly abused, as they produce intense euphoric effects. On the other hand, if a person is having trouble losing weight, being active, or focusing, they may be more inclined to abuse stimulants.

Each pharmaceutical medication affects the body in a different way. Each type of pharmaceutical presents its own unique challenges to overcome in recovery, but individualized substance abuse treatment has shown to be successful in treating all types of pharmaceutical addictions. When an individual gets the proper treatment, they can gain back control of their lives and learn new tools and coping skills to stop the cycle of addiction. Many people believe that because these pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed they are safer.

The truth is that these pharmaceuticals, when abused, can cause just as much as harm to the mind, body and soul as any drug. The danger of overdose with certain medications, especially when combined with others, is great. If an individual has a problem with the misuse and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs, treatment can help them take back control of their lives.

Pharmaceutical FAQ’s

A compound that is manufactured for a medicinal purpose.

The first known pharmaceuticals date back to ancient civilizations. These early pharmaceuticals were made of plants, animals, and minerals.

Opiates, Benzos, Uppers, Downers.

Pharmaceuticals can be swallowed, snorted, or injected.

The mind will become psychologically dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.

The body will become chemically dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.

The overdose effects will vary from pharmaceutical to pharmaceutical but opioid based pils will have similar symptoms as heroin.

Withdrawal effects will vary widely depending on what pharmaceutical you are addicted too.

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Sign, Symptoms & Common Behaviors of Pharmaceutical Abuse

Because pharmaceutical medications come in many different forms, there can be different signs and symptoms depending on which medication is being misused or abused. For opioid medications, an individual may seem euphoric, drowsy, and out-of-it.

For a person who abusing Benzodiazepines they may also seem drowsy, sedated, and have decreased coordination. Stimulant medications will cause an individual to be hyper energetic, talkative, loss of appetite and loss of sleep. If an individual is actually prescribed the medications that they are misusing or abusing, then usually what will happen is they will run out of their medication before their medication is due for a refills and when this happens, they may experience crashing or withdrawal symptoms.

Some individuals may attempt to procure the medications illegally until they are able to get their prescription filled which can result in legal and financial ramifications.

Commonly Abused Pharmaceutical Drugs


Ketamine is a drug that is normally used as an anesthetic for humans and animals. Much of the ketamine that is available on the streets is taken from veterinary offices. It comes as an injectable liquid, powders, or pills. Ketamine provides a high that allows the user to feel extreme euphoria and detachment from the world around them and can also cause temporarily paralysis in its users; some refer to this as a k-hole.


Methadone is a synthetic opioid drug that is frequently prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and opioid addiction. Methadone’s long-acting abilities help stave off opioid cravings for 36 hours. Unfortunately, it still has a high potential for abuse and because of its strength, can result in overdoses. Methadone can potentially have some very serious drug interactions, especially with Benzodiazepines, or other depressant drugs.


The brand name for oxycodone is Oxycontin and it is one of the most prescribed opioid medications today. Oxycodone tablets are one of the most likely medications to be prescribed for those suffering from moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone has an extremely high risk of addiction dependency and can cause respiratory distress when taken in high doses or if combined with other medications or alcohol.


Morphine is a pharmaceutical opioid drug that is often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Morphine has a high risk of addiction and dependence and is one of the stronger opioid pharmaceuticals on the market today. Morphine comes in pill and injectable form, as can be swallowed, snorted, and injected and can cause respiratory distress or even death if taken in high doses or if combined with other drugs.

Medical Detox

Effective medical detox experts focus on taking the discomfort out of the detox and withdrawal process. We understand that each patient has different needs. Patients can usually choose to either undergo medical detox or social detox. You deserve an effective and realistic addiction treatment plan. Learn More

Intensive Outpatient

Different outpatient programs, such as intensive outpatient and evening intensive outpatient programs, can help patients receive treatment while living at home. Connecting you to a safe and therapeutic program is our top priority. Learn More

Residential Treatment

Residential facilities are the perfect place to start your journey to recovery. At high-quality residential treatment centers, expert clinicians and medical providers assess your needs and provide an individualized plans tailored to your needs. Learn More

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Reliable Sources Matter to ABTRS

At ABTRS, we believe it is important to use reputable sources when communicating with our patients, their families, and potential clientele. Therefore, we have built all our information, statistics, treatment modalities, and practices on reliable resources that are supported by data, scientific methodology and/or testing.

A strong foundation for recovery should be built upon knowledge that is impartial, not funded by organizations that could benefit from certain outcomes, and proven or tested to be effective for substance abuse treatment and aftercare. Below are the sources used to construct the content on our website and any and all written material from ABTRS. We will continue to try to provide our patients and their families with reputable sources that are up to date and relevant.

Addressing Chemically Dependent Colleagues Volume 2/Issue 2 July 2011. Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/Addressing_Chemically_Dependent.pdf

Mealer, M., Burnham, E. L., Goode, C. J., Rothbaum, B., & Moss, M. (2009). The prevalence and impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and burnout syndrome in nurses. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2919801/

The Opioid Crisis and the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: How Can We Help. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.aana.com/docs/default-source/aana-journal-web-documents-1/guest-editorial—the-opioid-crisis-and-the-certified-registered-nurse-anesthetist—how-can-we-help.pdf?sfvrsn=76ad4ab1_4

Toney-Butler TJ, Siela D. Recognizing Alcohol and Drug Impairment in the Workplace in Florida. (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507774/

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