Why Legal Drugs are Just as Dangerous as Illegal Ones

Dangerous Drugs

Marijuana use is becoming more mainstream as lawmakers slowly become more tolerant, instilling pro-marijuana laws. However, hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin still receive negative attention from the media. Drug abuse has been a pivotal part of the political agenda since President Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971. However, some of the most dangerous drugs are completely legal and available over the counter or after a visit to a physician.

Side Effects

Drugs that are prescribed to alleviate a medical condition often have very dangerous side effects. For example, antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, and Zoloft have negative side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, heart disease, and sexual dysfunction. In fact, studies have proven than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can foster suicidal thoughts. Other drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) inhibits nutrient absorption and decreases the production of stomach acids. This leads to problems like magnesium deficiency, bacterial diarrhea. PPIs like Nexium and Prevacid are proven to increase risk of obesity and pneumonia. In addition to this, statin drugs often increase a patient’s risk of developing diabetes, brain damage, and liver disease. Drugs used to treat diabetes are shown to increase heart disease and bladder cancer while antipsychotics are proven to promote rapid, uncontrollable weight gain. Despite the FDA’s constant effort of warning consumers, serious side effects like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease are common among legal prescription drugs.


Another reason legal drugs are more dangerous than their illicit counterparts is ease of access. In most cases, it is much easier to go to a doctor and obtain a prescription for Xanax than searching for a reliable street dealer to provide said drugs. Many controlled substances are available through a doctor’s notepad and a trip to the pharmacy. In fact, this ease of access gives consumers a false sense of security. If a drug is that easy to obtain, it seems as if it is less harmful. This false notion often leads to abuse and eventually overdose.

Abuse Potential

As mentioned early, controlled substances like Xanax and hydrocodone are available via prescription. Benzodiazepines and opioid drugs are highly addictive. According to the CDC, more people overdosed on opioid prescriptions than cocaine and heroin combined. Receiving the drugs from a doctor or pharmacists as opposed to a drug dealer makes the drugs seem less dangerous, therefore increasing its abuse potential. In fact, many street dealers cut recreational drugs with filler like lactose or baking soda. Drugs obtained from a pharmacy is unadulterated and a lot more addictive than the product found on the streets. Because of this, users often use more than the recommended dosage and overdose. If highly addictive drugs are available via prescription, drug seekers take advantage of this and abuse the drugs, often using them for therapeutic and recreational purposes.

In conclusion, it is very important to numerate, observe, and heed the risks of both legal and illegal drugs. Most drugs have undesirable side effects and can lead to either psychological or physiological addiction. Several rehabilitation centers are available in each major American city. Help is never too far away. It is important to seek immediate assistance for a potential drug addiction.

12 thoughts on “Why Legal Drugs are Just as Dangerous as Illegal Ones

  1. Stephen says:

    This article was very short but informative as to why prescribed medications are more harmful. Doctors tend to prescribe medication left and right especially if a patient requests it. Not only this but for teenagers they usually get addicted to these drugs because their parents use them but don’t usually keep an eye on what is being used.

  2. Don Smith says:

    I totally agree with this article. Of my acquaintances that have/had drug problems, they started by abusing over-the-counter legal drugs. Any substance that is abused is a dangerous act, as it often leads to abuse of more drugs, whether they be legal or not. I also believe that some abusers of legal drugs do so under the false belief that taking more than the prescribed doses is not harmful. Perhaps the general public needs to be better educated about the dangers of overdosing legal drugs!

  3. Amy says:

    My sister-in-law is hooked on prescription drugs due to a horrible car accident. When the doctor stopped writing her a prescription, she started buying them illegally. It’s so sad.

  4. Cody says:

    the one thing i can say is that although i do not want any drugs to be abused but if they are i’d rather have them regulated and made safely in a lab then some random unknown place

  5. Jarvis says:

    Drugs are very harmful. i am totally agree with the post. The article is very informative. Doctor should change there trends.

  6. Mark says:

    This is a very important issue that needs to be addressed. Pharmaceutical companies often try to brush these “side effects” under the carpet, but sometimes the side effects from these legal drugs are worse than what they are “curing.”

  7. Aaron says:

    I’ve seen plenty of lives ruined from dependence and abuse of prescription drugs. Hopefully this will be a wakeup call to those who know someone like this since those with the problem are not entirely likely to admit they have one.

  8. Alex Law says:

    Drugs is the apparent solution to all problems, except its a temporary solution. It’s all about self-discipline. But that’s all of life.

    That is an interesting introduction with the lawyer bit though, I liked that.

  9. carrie says:

    A person that becomes addicted to prescription drugs could also start falsifying prescriptions and eventually will do jail time.

  10. Didi Smith says:

    I remember I used to have this argument with my Mom when she was alive as she would never agree that you could become addicted to drugs that the doctor subscribed to you. Now granted, she was taking probably 20-30 pills per day for all kinds of ailments from A-Z. But it is true, especially when you look at the statistics. There are more people addicted to prescription drugs than there are to illegal drugs. That is a real problem. I don’t see it getting any better until doctors start taking some responsibility for their patients and not prescribing these drugs to them unless they are really, truly needed and then only for short periods while they find a real solution to the problem the person is having.

  11. T says:

    Try to keep in mind as you read this that phrases like “are known to,” “studies show,” and “proven to,” refer to very few people in a group of a large study. I’ve taken many of the prescribed drugs mentioned (nexium, Zoloft, Xanax, and hydrocodone) and had no issues with any of them at any point. Many of the issues that arise from prescription drug use are the result of ignored side effects, irregular doctor follow ups, improper usage, or pre-existing conditions that make the consumer less equipped for that drug. Addictive tendencies and improper use have a lot to do with the user’s brain function and hormonal balance. They’re just as addictive as a coke or coffee.

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