29 28TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE About Problematic Prescription Drug Use Intentionally taking medication that has not been prescribed to you, to get high or change your mood, is problematic prescription drug use. The most common types of prescription drugs that can lead to problematic use include: • Opioids, which can be prescribed to treat certain kinds of pain • Benzodiazepines, which can be prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders • Stimulants, which can be prescribed to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) • Counterfeit Prescription Drugs, are drugs not approved by Health Canada. Problematic use of these medications can cause serious health effects, including substance use disorder (addiction), overdose and even death. These risks increase when medications are: • taken at higher doses • taken in a different way or for different reasons than they were prescribed • used with alcohol or other prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs What is ... Prescription drug abuse occurs when someone takes a medical drug that was not prescribed for them or they take it in a different manner than it was supposed to be taken. Most people who abuse a prescription drug take more of the drug than a person who takes it for medical purposes. Abusers will build up tolerances to most drugs, meaning that it takes more and more of a drug to produce the same effect. After a while, the abuser may be taking much larger doses than normal. And a person abusing a drug may change its form, for example, they may crush a pill or dissolve a drug so they can inject it. This helps the drug reach the bloodstream faster and have faster effects, such as euphoria and a sedated feeling or perhaps increased confidence and increased activity, depending on the type of drug being abused. WHAT IS PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE? continued