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Prescription Drugs such as benzodiazepines, Adderall, barbiturates, hypnotic sedatives, oxycodone, and hydrocodone can alter brain chemistry and pathways, leading to psychological and physical addiction or chemical dependence. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 16 million Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescriptions in a year and 12% of prescription drug abusers are addicted.

What can they do?

Symptoms of prescription drug use include:

  • Severe mood swings

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Erratic behavior

  • Psychomotor agitation

  • Doctor shopping

  • Stealing pills from friends and family members medicine

  • Angry or hostile behavior

  • Insomnia

  • Foggy thinking or mental confusion

  • Memory problems

Prescription Drugs


What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam. Doctors prescribe Xanax to treat anxiety, depression, panic disorders and phobias. It’s part of the benzodiazepine family, which is a group of psychoactive drugs that affects the central nervous system. The drugs slow brain activity, causing relaxation and drowsiness.

Xanax is one of the most addictive benzodiazepines when not properly used. People who misuse the drug experience unpleasant symptoms when they stop taking it like  anxiety, trouble sleeping and unhappy thoughts. Those feelings make quitting difficult.

Common side effects:

  • Forgetfulness

  • Clumsiness

  • Lack of appetite

  • Irritability

  • Trouble speaking, sleeping or concentrating

  • Drowsiness

  • Slurred speech

Withdrawal from Xanax may include:

  • Increased anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Nausea

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Uncontrollable shaking

  • High blood pressure

  • Seizures



Suboxone is one of the most common treatments used in treating opioid addictions such as heroin and painkillers. Approved by the FDA, suboxone suppresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings which allows the body to detox. Euphoria is blocked for at least 24 hours at a time and it starts working usually within 30 minutes of taking it. Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone which block receptors in the brain and reduce the urge to use a drug. It is administered sublingually as a film that dissolves under your tongue. The use of suboxone has been shown to lower the risks of overdosing by approximately 50%.

People who are prescribed suboxone may take far more of the drug than prescribed to get an opiate high. Sometimes people will abuse suboxone recreationally.  Places in the U.S. that already experience high-rates of opioid and heroin abuse also report suboxone abuse and addiction. A few signs of Suboxone abuse and withdrawal include:

  • “Losing” prescriptions to get more drugs

  • Taking more than is prescribed

  • Mixing the medication with other drugs or alcohol to get a more intense effect

  • Appearing sedated or drowsy

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Feeling physically or emotionally numb

  • Experiencing constipation

  • Slowed breathing

Suboxone abuse and withdrawal

Prescription Medication
Prescription Medication


Subutex is also used to help those addicted to certain opioids just as suboxone does.

Subutex tablets contain the active ingredient buprenorphine hydrochloride. It acts as a substitute for opioids and it helps with the withdrawal over a period of time. If you stop taking Subutex and start using opioids again, you are at risk of being more sensitive to opioids, which could be dangerous.

Subutex abuse and withdrawal

Subutex Use Symptoms

Subutex has a higher risk of abuse than suboxone. This is because suboxone is buprenorphine combined with naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist, meaning that it blocks opioids by attaching to the receptor without activating it and preventing other opioids from attaching.

  • Insomnia

  • Secretion of tears

  • Dilated pupils

  • Anxiety

  • Restlessness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Goosebumps

  • Muscle aches

How does it work?

The buprenorphine molecule binds to the same opioid receptors as heroin and, in doing so, subsequently blocks heroin’s ability to produce its full range of effects. While it elicits a weaker opioid effect than drugs like morphine and heroin, there is still potential for abuse due to feelings of euphoria it elicits.


Sublocade is a medicine that’s injected by a healthcare professional as a liquid, and once inside the body, turns to a solid gel called a depot (dee-poh). It then continuously releases the medicine buprenorphine all month at sustained levels preventing the daily ups and downs with other medications.

Sublocade contains an opioid medicine called buprenorphine that can cause serious and life-threatening breathing problems, especially if you take or use certain other medicines or drugs. Because sublocade has a weaker effect on the brain than more addictive drugs, it can be used as a replacement for illegal or prescription opioids. When on sublocade, alcohol can be extremely dangerous and can lead to death. Similarly, overdoses on sublocade can be fatal.


Methadone is used as replacement therapy for the opioid-dependent patients. Since Methadone is an opiate, the patient is still dependent on opiates with this replacement therapy. Essentially, using methadone can be seen as trading one opiate for the other. Consequently, the patient will still be dependent on methadone and will go through withdrawals when it is discontinued. Withdrawals are very painful and can last months after the last dose. This is because methadone is the longest acting of all the opiates and gets deposited in your bones and tissues. Methadone is involved in one third of opiate painkiller-related overdose deaths.

Side Effects of Methadone include:

  • Dizziness

  • Sleepiness

  • Vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Euphoria

Doctor and Patient

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol once again blocks the effect of opioid pain medication and heroin, just as the aforementioned medications do.  Vivitrol is injected on a scheduled basis to help control cravings. It works to stop euphoria and sedation of the central nervous system that depressants like alcohol and opioids cause. It binds to receptors and stays in your system for a long period of time. Vivitrol will prevent a “high” when taking the substance and that's why it is often used in medicated assisted programs. Cravings are also reduced for alcohol when taking vivitrol. While cravings are reduced, it should be noted that vivitrol will produce a “sick” feeling if you ingest alcohol while taking it.  The drive to drink depletes and disappears because there are no longer reward signals by the brain. One of the most common ways a person can abuse the drug is by continuing their opioid use after they have started treatment. Even though Vivitrol impairs the brain’s response to opioids, there have been reports of individuals taking high opioid dosages while also taking Vivitrol. Additionally, some people find that Vivitrol makes them more sensitive to opioids after they have completed treatment.

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