The Dangers

There are serious health risks related to abusing prescription drugs.
  • A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death.
  • Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures.
  • Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn.
  • The abuse of OTC cough and cold remedies can cause blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, coma and even death.
  • Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and alcohol. Using these drugs in combination can cause respiratory failure and death.
  • Prescription and OTC drug abuse is addictive. The number of people seeking treatment for prescription painkiller addiction increased more than 400% between 1997 and 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Woman mixing prescription drugs and alcohol