Discussions about drug abuse often relate to the use of illegal substances. Unfortunately, legal medications and substances can be just as addictive as or even more addictive than illegal substances.

Recognizing substances that are legal and addictive can make it easier to determine when you or a loved one is at risk of developing an addiction.

  1. Opioid Pain Relievers

  2. Although opiates are legally available, they require a prescription from a doctor due to the potentially addictive qualities of the substances. Generally, opiates are only given in cases of moderate to severe pain.

    For example, your doctor may give you a prescription pain reliever after a surgical procedure or when you are injured and experience a high level of pain.

    MSN reports that opiate medications are designed to provide relief for a short period of time. When you do not stop taking the medication for an extended period of time, it is possible to develop a chemical dependency on the substance and you begin to experience cravings.

    The problem associated with opiate drugs is the potential to accidentally become addicted to the substance. You or your loved one may start taking the substance for a legitimate medical reason, which can make it harder to determine when an addiction has developed.

  3. Alcohol

  4. After turning 21, alcohol is a legal substance that adults can purchase and drink. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that the substance can cause feelings of euphoria that lead to excessive drinking.

    When alcohol is abused, there is a higher risk of:

    • Violent behavior
    • Accidental injuries to the individual drinking
    • Depression
    • Other health concerns

    Addiction can develop over time when alcohol is abused on a regular basis.

    If you or a loved one has developed an addiction to alcohol, then it may be necessary to seek medical attention because the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous.

  5. Benzodiazepines

  6. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for:

    • Anxiety disorders
    • Panic attacks
    • Insomnia
    • Seizures
    • Other, similar mental health conditions

    Unfortunately, the medication is often abused or used inappropriately, which can lead to an addiction.

    An addiction to Benzodiazepines is potentially life-threatening and you or your loved one should never discontinue the medication without supervision from a doctor. A medically supervised detoxification is recommended due to the potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can develop.

  7. Medications for ADHD

  8. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health condition that impacts an individual’s ability to focus on a task. Although the medication can help when a child or adult has the condition, it is a substance that is often abused with the misconception that it will help improve focus and study habits.

    An addiction to ADHD medications can result in paranoia, insomnia and hallucinations. Professional treatment may be required when an addiction has developed due to the potential psychological effects of the medication.

The Common Danger of Addiction

Although legal substances are provided for specific reasons, they can be as addictive as illegal drugs. When you are worried that you or a loved one has developed an addiction to a legal substance, it may be time to seek professional treatment.


  1. http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/8-most-addictive-legal-drugs#3
  2. http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/commonly-abused-drugs-chart
  3. http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14624880/3-most-dangerous-drugs-are-legal