CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- True, prescription drugs are legal but only if you have a prescription. Prescriptions are required for a reason. Your health-care provider knows your medical history and can tell you how to use prescription drugs safely. And he or she can keep track of how a drug affects you.
Taking prescription drugs incorrectly or without a prescription can cause real damage -- even death. It is a growing problem.
It can ruin your body. Impaired motor skills can lead to car crashes and falls that scar for life. And abusers can suffer organ damage, seizures, and death.
It can ruin your mind. Abusing prescription drugs can hurt your brain -- and that can mean problems with school or work. Your self-esteem can also take a major hit.
It can affect your relationships. Prescription drug abuse can make you secretive and hostile, causing you to push away family and friends.
It can ruin your future. You could neglect your own plans, big or small, and abusers can face fines or jail time from getting prescription drugs illegally -- or stealing to feed their addiction.
Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
* Pain relievers that can lead to addiction fast! Pain relievers contain ingredients similar to heroin, and an overdose can be just as severe. Pain relievers include oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and codeine. (Some brand names are Oxycontin, Vicodin and Dilandau).
* Stimulants that people abuse to stay awake can cause paranoia, seizures and death. They include methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine. (Brand names include Ritalin and Dexedrine.)