In recent years, the topics of drug abuse and drug addiction have graced many news headlines. The similarity in the two terms may often lead people to think of them as interchangeable.
However, while abuse of a drug and addiction to a drug may share some features, they are far from one in the same.
Abuse versus addiction
The difference between drug abuse and drug addiction centers around a person’s ability to truly control their impulses and their actions. A person who abuses a drug uses that substance in an incorrect manner. For example, someone may take a prescription medication to achieve a high rather than to address a medical condition or need.
Drug addiction involves the uncontrollable urge to use a drug. A person struggling with an addiction to a drug simply cannot stop using it. Both illegal and legal drugs contribute to drug addiction.
Drug addiction and prescription medications
The use of certain legal medications may lead to the development of a serious, long-term drug addiction. These medications often require a health care professional’s prescribed use of the drug.
Among the most addictive prescription medications, any drug in the opioid family stands out. Long touted for their ability to control and manage severe pain, these drugs may contribute to addictions that drive people to substance abuse.
Other addictive prescription medications include stimulants and depressants. Many people give stimulants to their children to treat attention deficit disorders. Others take depressants to cope with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and more.
Not all drugs are illegal, but many drugs – illegal or not – are highly addictive. Drug abuse and addiction can lead a person to engage in illicit behavior – out of desperation or possibly without even realizing what they are doing. If you’re arrested for a prescription drug crime, you may be worried about your future. It’s important to get in touch with an attorney experienced in defending against these unique types of charges.