The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Painkillers

24 Hour Helpline Available Toll-Free: (269) 704-7239

The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Painkillers


Medicine falling out of medicine bottle.

Over the last few years, the use of illicit street drugs has decreased, and at the same time, the use of prescription painkillers has increased. In fact, the number of individuals who abuse prescription painkillers has grown substantially, and if current trends continue, abuse of prescription painkillers will become a much bigger problem than illicit street drugs.

In the year 2007, millions of individuals abused prescription painkillers for the very first time. Statistics show that teens abuse prescription painkillers almost as much as marijuana. Many parents want to know why teens are abusing prescription painkillers. Anonymous surveys suggest that most teens believe it’s safer to get high on prescription painkillers than with heroin or similar street drugs.

The problem is that many people find out how dangerous painkiller abuse is the hard way. Each year, thousands of individuals die from a painkiller overdose. However, there are many different painkillers that can be abused, but some painkillers are much more popular than others.


A commonly abused painkiller is codeine, and since it’s not very hard to obtain, many people abuse this painkiller. In most cases, codeine is prescribed in the form of a cough syrup, but it might be prescribed as tablets or other forms. Codeine is extracted from opium, and it can be ingested or injected. A number of different prescription medications contain codeine. Some common medications that contain codeine are Tylenol, Robitussin A-C, Fiorinal and Empirin. A number of different street names might be used to refer to codeine. Loads, doors, schoolboy, captain Cody and syrup are all street names for the painkiller known as codeine.


Here is another prescription painkiller that is commonly abused. Opium is actually the main source that many other painkillers are derived from. The opium poppy is the main source for opium, and historically, it was used as a powerful painkiller. In the past, opium was used to create laudanum. The problem was that opium was being abused heavily, so new drugs were created to replace the use of opium. Today, there are many drugs that contain opium, but there are also many synthetic opioids. Although it’s a bit harder to obtain, opium is still a top choice for drug abusers. Opium might be ingested or smoked, and some of its street names are hop, gum, block, black stuff, big O and paregoric.


Morphine is another prescription painkiller that is commonly abused, and it’s also made from opium. In most cases, morphine is smoked, ingested or injected. However, most drug users prefer to inject morphine. Two major brand names for morphine are Duramorph and Roxanol. On the street, morphine might be called white stuff, monkey, Miss Emma and M.


A very popular prescription painkiller is oxycodone, and in the US, it’s one of the most-prescribed painkillers available. In terms of how often it’s prescribed, oxycodone is right behind hydrocodone. Like hydrocodone, oxycodone is a synthetic opioid, and many drug users crush the drug and snort it. However, oxycodone might also be ingested or injected. There are a few different brand names for oxycodone. Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin and Tylox are some of oxycodone’s well-known brand names. On the street, drug users might refer to oxycodone as percs, hillbilly heroin, oxycet and oxycotton. Oxycodone is described as a powerful narcotic, and when compared with opioids like hydrocodone and codeine, oxycodone is significantly stronger.


Although it’s weaker than oxycodone and similar painkillers, hydrocodone is a painkiller that is abused heavily. In the US, hydrocodone is the most-prescribed painkiller, so it’s easy to see why so many people abuse it. Despite new laws and regulations, drug abusers still don’t have much trouble finding and purchasing hydrocodone. This painkiller is a synthetic opioid, and it’s commonly mixed with acetaminophen. Lorcet, Lortab and Vicodin are some of the brand names for hydrocodone.


A powerful prescription painkiller is called fentanyl, and it has a high potential for abuse. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which just means it’s not completely natural. Fentanyl is like hydrocodone and oxycodone because it’s partially man made. Duragesic and Actiq are the major brand names that fentanyl is sold under. Fentanyl might be snorted, smoked or injected, and it has many street names. TNT, friend, china white and apache are some of the street names for fentanyl. Unlike hydrocodone and oxycodone, fentanyl is a bit harder for drug abusers to obtain because it’s not prescribed as frequently. These are some of the most-abused prescription painkillers, but drug users can abuse almost any type of painkiller. Depending on the form of the drug, painkillers can be snorted, chewed, injected or ingested.

Dilaudid andDemerol are two other types of painkillers that are abused, but this is not an exhaustive list.

It’s almost always best for drug users to seek inpatient care because it offers several advantages over other forms of treatment. Some of the advantages of this type of care include a comforting atmosphere, trained and credentialed staff available 24/7, nutritious meals, counseling, fitness and exercise routines, life skills training, and aftercare services, all of which are directed toward helping the recovering addict acquire the skills and confidence needed to maintain sobriety for the long-term.