Modern medicine has the power to treat or cure multiple diseases that once plagued mankind. Every year, new drugs hit the market and become more effective and safer. And every year, thousands of Americans still get hooked on prescription medication.

Although prescription drugs are helpful, they come with serious risks if abused, including addiction, overdose and death. The biggest culprit, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is prescription opioids, causing 40 percent of deaths from overdose. With so much scientific knowledge and advancements, how does this happen?

Health reasons

In many cases, users have no intention of becoming addicted to the substance, especially not to the point of committing crimes they otherwise would not engage in. Prescription drug users usually have severe health problems and intense levels of pain that require strong painkillers or other medicines.

While these drugs do the job, they also come with a high risk of dependence, which is why the government considers them controlled substances. Treatment using prescription medicine must happen under the careful direction of a qualified provider, and patients must follow doctor’s orders to reduce the risk of addiction.

Underestimating danger

The National Institute on Drug Abuse shares that the group most involved in prescription drug abuse is young adults 18 to 25 years old. For this group, one factor may be underestimating the potential harm these medications can cause. Young people may believe their legality makes them not as dangerous as illegal drugs.

Easy access

Prescription medication may also be more accessible, easy to steal from parents’ and friends’ medicine cabinets. Some people willingly give their leftover pills to family and friends, often unaware of the danger of sharing a prescription. Use may also be easier, as few people think twice when they see someone taking medicine. It is a normal part of life. However, it is also risky and requires compassion and proper treatment to help those struggling with addiction.