Survey Finds OxyContin is Most Abused Prescription Drug

Prescription drugs affect the body in different ways. Opioids, for example are medications used to relieve pain. Also known as painkillers, these include:

  • Codeine
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab)
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)
  • And more

A new survey found that among all prescription medications (painkillers, depressants, stimulants, etc.), oxycodone (the active ingredient in OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) top the list as the most abused prescription medications.

The study involved more than 3,500 prescription painkiller abusers within 160 drug treatment programs across the country. Among those participants, 45 percent favored oxycodone and 30 percent favored hydrocodone. Even though the medications come in pill form, more than 64 percent of the participants who favored oxycodone reported they inhaled or injected the drug after crushing it.

Researchers also found that oxycodone was more popular among men, while hydrocodone was more popular among women, older people and other individuals who did not want to inject or inhale drugs.

Both hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioids – medications prescribed to inhibit the sensation of pain. When taken by an individual who is not in pain, the effect on the brain can create a calm, euphoric feeling which is often perceived as pleasurable. This is the effect that can lead to painkiller abuse.

“Opioids are prescribed to treat pain, but their misuse has risen dramatically in recent years,” said the study’s principal investigator Theodore Cicero in a HealthDay article. Cicero is a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis where he studies prescription drug abuse. “Our goal is to understand the personal characteristics of people who are susceptible to drug abuse, so we can detect problems ahead of time.”

You can Read More about this survey in the HealthDay article here.

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