Learn the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

There is no denying prescription painkiller abuse is one of the biggest problems Americans face. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 10 million people admit to using painkillers for recreational use in the past year. Those addicted to opiates face many health problems, including brain damage, which leads to chronic brain disease. Family members or loved ones who suspect a person is using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons can help them get the help they need by learning the signs.


Those who suspect someone they know is addicted to painkillers should ask themselves the following questions:

Is the Person Constantly Lacking Energy?

Consistent tiredness and drowsiness are signs of addiction. Not to be confused with general lack of sleep, a person who is addicted will display characteristics of drowsiness at various parts of the day, despite having low physical activity.

Do They Have Trouble Concentrating?

Because prescription drugs can cause a person’s attention span and concentration to decline, those who are addicted will appear uncomfortable, anxious and unfocused. This lack of concentration will affect the person’s ability to complete daily tasks at work or school. 

Have They Changed the Way they Act?

If someone you know has become increasingly less social, it could be a sign of addiction. Because drug use can cause a person to be tired or drowsy, it will likely decrease their desire to be around other people, or engage in social interaction. This can lead to isolation, especially if they are paranoid their drug abuse could be detected.

Does the Person’s Physical Appearance Seem Different?

Using opioids can lead to constricted pupils, itchy rashes, droopy and heavy eyelids, flushed face and slurred speech. Withdrawal symptoms include extreme tiredness and yawning, nausea, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and dilated pupils.

It’s important for anyone witnessing these symptoms in a friend or family member to seek help. Because drug abuse is highly treatable, recognizing symptoms is the first step in recovering from drug use.