A common misperception is that prescription drugs are safer or less harmful to one’s body than other kinds of drugs. However, as cited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there is a range of short- and long-term health consequences for each type of prescription drug used inappropriately:
- Stimulants have side effects in common with cocaine, and may include paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, and an irregular heartbeat, especially if stimulants are taken in large doses or in ways other than swallowing a pill.
- Opioids, which act on the same parts of the brain as heroin, can cause drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and, depending on the amount taken, slowed breathing.
- Depressants can cause slurred speech, shallow breathing, fatigue, disorientation, lack of coordination, and seizures upon withdrawal from chronic use.