Prescription Drug Abuse in Cambridge, MA (617) 500-9167

Prescription drug abuse is the misuse and/or overuse of prescription drugs or medications. Abuse can also occur when a person takes the drug for recreational purposes or for reasons other than it was prescribed for. The overuse of a prescription drug refers to a person who takes doses higher than prescribed by a physician or in a higher frequency (more often) than prescribed.

Treatment for prescription drug abuse is offered by a variety of treatment centers. Call Drug Treatment Centers Cambridge at (617) 500-9167 for more information.

Common Drugs of Abuse

While any prescription drug can technically be abused, some drugs are more frequently abused than others based on the effects they have on the mind and body. Some of the most common categories of drugs abused include:


Opiates are powerful and potent painkillers that are used by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain. These drugs block pain receptors throughout the body as well as have a calming and relaxing effect by slowing the respiration rate (breathing) and heart rate. Some prescription opiates include:

  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Dilaudid


Sedatives, also known as CNS (central nervous system) depressants, are drugs that slow or suppress functions of the nervous system and brain, causing immense relaxation and calm among people who take them. The most common prescription sedatives include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin


Prescription stimulants are drugs that are created to excite or stimulate the nervous system into certain actions. This basically means that it triggers the brain and nervous system to begin performing certain actions that it was not otherwise doing on its own (or not to sufficient levels). Side effects of these drugs can include increased energy and reduced appetite. They are often used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or seizures. Some prescription stimulants include:

  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Concerta

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Trouble at work or school

Financial Troubles

  • Seeking out multiple prescriptions
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Purchasing prescription drugs from illegal dealers
  • Lying about losing medication when runs out fast
  • Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Changes in appetite
  • Extreme or rapid changes in weight
  • Hostility towards friends and family

Treatment Options

When a person realizes they have a prescription drug abuse problem, the first step in treatment is detox. Detox should be done in a medical detoxification facility to help a person safely and successfully overcome their prescription drug problem or addiction.

In medical detox, withdrawal symptoms can be monitored and treated. Additionally, for certain types of drugs such as opiates, the detox process can be made gradual and incremental with the use of prescription drugs that make the detox process easier and less uncomfortable.

After detox gets the prescription drug out of a person's system, the treatment process involves individual and group therapy to start with. These therapies help recovering addicts to determine the original reasons that a person developed a substance abuse problem as well as ways to develop coping mechanisms to prevent future issues and relapse. Other treatment options include moral reconation therapy, music therapy, art therapy, restorative yoga, and family therapy.


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