Prescription drugs are powerful tools that can be used to treat a variety of ailments, from pain to anxiety to insomnia. Their potency and perceived safety, however, also make them targets for abuse. The misuse of opioid painkillers, antidepressants, ADHD medications, sedatives, and other prescription drugs can have dire individual health consequences and high societal economic costs. Prescription drug abuse can also lead to abuse of street drugs such as heroin. This book identifies prescription drugs that are abused and the consequences such abuse can have for both individuals and society and discusses the many questions relating to how to address this public health issue. Part I explores the epidemic's magnitude, which drugs are abused, how they are obtained, and consequences of abuse. Part II delves into controversies including roles that doctors and
Big Pharma play and legal issues. Part III provides case studies, a timeline of critical events, and a directory of resources.