abuse of over the counter and prescription drugs Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2145 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Nursing  ·  Written: June 29, 2018

An addiction to prescription or over the counter medication may also signal an underlying mental health issue like depression or anxiety, which can be best addressed through a combination of counseling and psychopharmacology (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). Detoxification, behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies, and family therapy may also be indicated as part of an overall treatment regimen.

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State and federal governments have responded to prescription and over the counter drug addiction for decades. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created in 1973 to enforce the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the “most comprehensive federal drug law” to date (Blake, 2013, p. 1). All drugs—prescription and illicit alike—are scheduled and classified under the Controlled Substances Act and all physicians must therefore be registered with the DEA so that they can be monitored for judicious prescription behaviors (Blake, 2013). Given that more people report abusing prescription drugs than “cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined,” it seems senseless that the most frequently abused drugs are legal, leaving illicit drugs unregulated (Talbott Recovery, 2018). Nevertheless, the federal government continues to respond to a growing drug addiction problem by more closely monitoring healthcare organizations and doctors.

Research Paper on abuse of over the counter and prescription drugs Assignment

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also plays a role in federal legislation surrounding both over the counter and prescription drugs. With jurisdictions that overlap with the DEA somewhat, the FDA monitors patient access to prescription drugs according to a comprehensive risk management strategy (Blake, 2013). The risk management strategy assesses potential costs and benefits of each drug, with special attention being paid to opioids given that the vast majority (88.9%) of drug abuse admissions among persons over the age of 18 were for addiction to prescription opioids (Gonzales, Brecht, Mooney, et al., 2011). Individual states may also pass laws that more tightly oversee physician practices and pain relief clinics that regularly administer opioids (Blake, 2013).


Addiction to prescription and over the counter drugs is common, and is a leading cause of death in the United States. Legally speaking, addiction to prescription and over the counter drugs is qualitatively different than addiction to illicit drugs. However, the mental and physical effects of drug abuse and the options for treatment intervention are much the same whether a person is abusing illegal or legal drugs. The proliferation of addiction in the United States should draw attention to the need for more sensible drug policy overall, focusing on education, harm reduction, and compassionate care.


Agley, J., Gassman, R., Agha, A.Y., et al. (2015). Examining sequences of adolescent substance use initiation involving over the counter drug abuse. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 24(4): 212-219.

Blake, V. (2013). Fighting prescription drug abuse with federal and state law. AMA Journal of Ethics 15(5): 443-448.

Brande, L. (2018). Over the counter drugs of abuse. Drug Abuse.com. https://drugabuse.com/library/otc-drug-abuse/

Dart, R.C., Surratt, H.L., Cicero, T.J., et al. (2015). Prescription drug abuse and diversion. Canadian Journal of Addiction 6(1): 25.

Gonzales, R., Brecht, M., Mooney, L., et al. (2011). Prescription and over-the-counter drug treatment admissions to the California public treatment system. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 40(3): 224-229.

Kanayama, G., Gruber, A.J., Pope, H.G., et al. (2001). Over the counter drug use in gynmasiums. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 70(2001): 137-140.

McHugh, R.K., Nielsen, S. & Weiss, R.D. (2015). Prescription drug abuse: from epidemiology to public policy. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 48(1): 1-7.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018). How can prescription drug addiction be treated? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/how-can-prescription-drug-addiction-be-treated

National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (n.d.). Commonly abused prescription drugs. https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rx_drugs_placemat_508c_10052011.pdf

“Over The Counter Drug Addiction And Treatment,” (2015). CRC Health. https://www.crchealth.com/addiction/otc-drug-abuse/

Talbot Recovery (2018). 2018 Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics You Need To Know. https://talbottcampus.com/prescription-drug-abuse-statistics/

Volkow, N.D. (2014). America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse. NIH. https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/institutes/olpa/20140514-senate-testimony-volkow.pdf [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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