Prescription Drugs


What Are Prescription (Rx) Drugs?

Rx drugs are drugs that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

  • Opioids: medicines used to treat pain. Ex: Oxycontin, Roxicodone, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco
  • Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives: used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Ex: Xanax, Valium, Ambien
  • Stimulants: used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain sleep disorder. Ex: Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall XR, Dexedrine

How Does it Affect the Body?

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse depend on the specific drug.

Opioid Painkillers

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Feeling high (euphoria)
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Increased pain with higher doses


  • Reduced appetite
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Sedative & Anti-Anxiety

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing

Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive mood swings or hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Poor decision-making
  • Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated
  • Continually "losing" prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor

When Do Prescription Drugs Become Illegal

As soon as an Rx drug is taken for the wrong reasons (e.g. "to get high") and/or given to someone else, it becomes illegal. Rx drugs are extremely effective in treating medical conditions when they are taken correctly. However, these are powerful drugs that can lead to serious health issues as wells as addiction when they are taken incorrectly or recreationally.

What Are Pharm Parties?


The Truth About Prescription Drugs


Did You Know?

  • Combining prescription drugs with other drugs or alcohol without consulting your physician can be very dangerous.
  • Mixing stimulants and antidepressants enhances the effects of the stimulant, resulting in irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperature, cardiovascular failure, or seizures.
  • Opioids should never be used with substances such as, alcohol, antihistamines (treats allergies), barbiturates (depressants) or benzodiazepines (tranquilizers). These substances slow down breathing and when it is combined with opioids, it could cause severe life-threatening respiratory depression.
  • The street price of Oxycontin has increased to 20% due to high demand and Hydrocodone has quickly become the most abused pharmaceutical drug in the islands.
  • In 2003, 5% of Hawaii 12th graders have tried tranquillizers or sedatives at least once; this puts usage rates in youth equivalent to that of methamphetamine (ice).


Additional Information on Prescription Drugs