There are four types of prescription drugs that are commonly abused. Many of the over the counter drugs fit into one of these categories.

  • Opioids and painkillers – examples include Percocet and codeine
  • Depressants or Benzodiazepines (called Benzos) – examples include Xanax, Valium, Ativan
  • Stimulants – examples include Adderall and Ritalin
  • Cough Medicine – Includes Nyquil and Robitussin


These drugs are prescribed for people in chronic pain. It is very hard to deal with pain all day, so doctors use opiates to help people get through the day.

Pain is created in your body by nerve messages that are sent to your brain. What opioids do is fill the area that carries those messages with the drug. Your brain no longer receives signals that it is in pain anymore.

After using the drug for a while, you may feel that the same dosage no longer reduces pain in the same way as before. That is because you have grown tolerant to the drug. Don’t worry, just tell your doctor this and they will help you and prescribe a healthy dosage. However, you can still experience withdrawal effects when you stop so never quit cold turkey without telling a medical superior.

Addiction starts to happen when you rely on it. Without a doctor’s guidance, you do not know when is a reasonable limit to stop. There are a lot of illegal opioids too that are extremely dangerous like fentanyl and heroin. People who want more opiates can turn to those drugs.


These drugs are mostly prescribed to people who have anxiety or sleeping disorders. They are depressants and help calm you down. You can fall into a sleepy state that some people learn to crave.

GABA is a neurotransmitter in your brain that makes you sleepy. Benzos are meant to target that transmitter to help you sleep. Too many Benzos can slow down your breathing and heart rate till you end up dying. Your body is too relaxed and forgets to function.

Again, you may build up a tolerance. Benzos may no longer make you as sleepy as before. Talk to your doctor.


Stimulants have all sorts of uses. They treat people with ADHD, ADD, depression and many more. They help people gain a tremendous sense of alertness and energy. People whose low energy is harmful or have problems concentrating use stimulants to help them focus and do things.

This is a common drug to abuse among students as a lot of students use stimulants to study. This gives them the idea of using this drug to party so they can have energy throughout the night. They treat is like a more intense source of caffeine. However, the effects of stimulants are much more dangerous. The body is also more prone to become reliant on stimulants.