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Is Prescription Drug Abuse as Bad as Illegal Drug Abuse?

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Taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you – or taking them in any way other than directed by a doctor – is considered non-medical use or abuse and can be as dangerous as taking an illegal drug, such as cocaine or heroin. “Misuse” of a prescription drug is taking it to treat a medical condition but not as directed by a doctor or packaging; “abuse” is taking prescription drugs with the sole intention of getting high. When misused or abused, many prescription drugs can be as dangerous and addictive as “street” drugs. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of poisonings and even deaths associated with the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs, including prescription painkillers and anti-depressants.

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