Prescription drugs can cause dangerous short- and long-term health problems when they are not used as directed or when they are taken by someone other than the person they were prescribed for.
Abusing opioids like oxycodone and codeine can cause you to feel sleepy, sick to your stomach, and constipated. At higher doses, opioids can make it hard to breathe properly and can cause overdose and death.
Abusing stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin can make you feel paranoid (feeling like someone is going to harm you even though they aren’t). It also can cause your body temperature to get dangerously high and make your heart beat too fast. This is especially likely if stimulants are taken in large doses or in ways other than swallowing a pill.
Abusing depressants like barbiturates can cause slurred speech, shallow breathing, sleepiness, disorientation, and lack of coordination. People who abuse depressants regularly and then stop suddenly may experience seizures. At higher doses depressants can also cause overdose and death, especially when combined with alcohol.
Abuse of any of these types of medications can lead to addiction. And, abusing any type of drug that causes changes in your mood, perceptions, and behavior can affect judgment and willingness to take risks—putting you at greater risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
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