OTC Drug Abuse: Know the Risks

Some people feel that if a drug is not available only through a prescription, then it is not dangerous. They think that if anyone can access it easily by picking it up off a store shelf, then it can’t be that bad for you. However, you should know that OTC drugs can still harm you if you don’t follow the directions and use them correctly.

Some people even compare a benzodiazepine detox process to what it’s like going through detox for certain over-the-counter drugs. In this article, we will discuss some medicines that have the potential for abuse, even if you can buy them in stores without a doctor’s prescription.


There are many different kinds of stimulants you can legally buy without a prescription, such as diet pills that are essentially speed. There are also some herbal supplements and energy drinks that contain natural and chemically-derived stimulating ingredients.

Caffeine, guarana, and taurine are all legal, but they can become dangerous if you ingest too much of them. That is why there are regulations concerning how much of each one a company can put in a drink or some other product they’re putting on the market.

That doesn’t mean some people don’t become addicted to these substances or even overdose on them, though. Someone who becomes hooked on the rush from these chemicals risks damaging themselves severely.

Cough and Cold Medications

Of all the drugs it’s possible to get legally over the counter in this country, cough and cold medications are probably abused more than any others. Cough and cold medications typically contain ingredients that can cause euphoric feelings if you ingest enough of them. That is why individuals who want to become intoxicated sometimes choose to abuse them, especially if they are too young to legally purchase alcohol.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain meds are not usually abused by individuals who are looking to chase a high or get a feeling of euphoria. Instead, they are being misused by people who are dealing with acute or chronic pain, but they are taking more than the recommended amount of these drugs.

If someone has significant pain in their life, and what they are doing to combat it isn’t working, it stands to reason they would attempt to raise their dosage of legal pain meds. This can cause serious health problems, though, so you should always avoid this type of behavior.

Motion Sickness Medication

Motion sickness medications also have the potential to be used incorrectly. Someone trying to achieve a euphoric state may take many more of these pills than the recommended dosage.

Doing so can make someone comatose. It can make them have a seizure or increase their risk of having a heart attack by quite a bit. These are a class of medication you should never abuse.

Just because you can purchase something without a prescription, that does not mean you should be careless in using it. Make sure you read the directions and follow them to stay safe.