Onset of Drug Effect(s): The list of prescription drugs is endless. Therefore, it is impossible to review the onset of drug effects for all of the possible drugs available to the public. Click here for a listing of prescription drugs, their effects, and related information.

Commonly abused prescription drugs are generally across three drug categories:

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.  Valium® and Xanax® are two commonly prescribed depressants.

Opiates are commonly prescribed to treat pain.  Vicodin® and Percocet® are two commonly prescribed opiates.

Stimulants are commonly prescribed to treat narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Ritalin® and Adderall® are two commonly prescribed stimulants.

Drug Action(s):

Misuse or abuse of prescription antidepressants can:

  • Slow heart rate and respiration;
  • Cause fatal respiratory problems when used in combination with over-the-counter cough medicines, prescription pain medications, and alcohol;
  • Result in addiction – high addiction potential.

Misuse or abuse of prescription opiates can:

  • Produce drowsiness;
  • Depress breathing and lead to respiratory failure;
  • Result in addiction – high addiction potential.

Misuse or abuse of prescription stimulants can:

  • Result in irregular heartbeat;
  • Raise the body’s temperature to dangerous levels;
  • Lead to cardiovascular failure or seizure;
  • Create feelings of hostility or paranoia;
  • Cause particularly severe heart damage when used in combination with anti-depressants or over-the-counter cough medicines.
  • Result in addiction - high addiction potential.

How to Safely Dispose of Prescription Medications

A few small strategies can make a big difference in safeguarding and properly disposing of your medications. Following your prescribing provider's instructions first to be sure that you are considering any special disposal requirements for your medication, you can follow these basic instructions for safe and recommended disposal:

  • DO NOT FLUSH any medication.
  • Take a sealable plastic bag, and crush or add water to any solid medications.
  • Add kitty litter or coffee grounds.
  • Seal the bag and put it in the trash.
  • Conceal or remove all identifying information from the prescription bottle before recycling or throwing them away.

Questions to Ask a Healthcare Provider about Prescription Medications

  • Why are you providing me this particular medication?
  • Are there any conditions under which I cannot take this medication? (e.g., pregnancy, with alcohol or other drugs)
  • What are the side effects? Are there any that I should report immediately if I experience them?
  • How often should I take the medication?
  • When should I take the medication, any particular time of day?
  • When can I stop taking this medication? Will I need to slowly reduce the dose, or can I stop "cold turkey?"
  • Are there any activities that I should not participation in while taking this medication?
  • Will this medication interact with other medications I am currently taking?

Healthy Strategies for Time, Stress & Study Management

Non-medical use of a prescription drug occurs whenever a prescription drug is used for anything other than its intended purpose, by someone other than the intended user, or in a dosage other than prescribed.

The possible motivations for NMPDU can include the desire to stay awake for extended periods of time to “party” or study, to get high, to lose weight, or to deal with stress and anxiety.

The culture of pharmacology is that prescription drugs are “safe” and available without consequence. However, if taken without an express prescription or recommendation from one’s health care provider, the risks are innumerable.

Click here for healthy strategies for time, stress and study management.

94% of Villanova students do not abuse prescription stimulants used to treat ADHD.
The brain does not care about nor respond to intention. The brain resopnds to the drug you are consuming.