Prescription Drug Addiction

We understand the challenges of prescription drug dependence and we can help you find the support and personalized treatment programs you need. Let us be your ally in this journey towards lasting recovery and start living again!

Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment and Rehab

Prescription drugs are used to treat varying physical and mental health conditions. However, they can be abused when used without a prescription or in a way different from that prescribed by a doctor. The nature of some prescription medications makes them more prone to abuse than others. Prescription drugs that are most often abused belong to the following classes:


Opioids are prescribed for acute or chronic pain, not controlled by routinely prescribed analgesics, and include fentanyl, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, tramadol, and hydrocodone. They manage pain well and cause a mild euphoria which can lead to addiction and dependence if abused or used for a prolonged period.


Depressants are prescribed for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. They may also be used as anesthesia and for the management of seizures. Examples include benzodiazepines (Xanax/Alprazolam, Valium/Diazepam, Klonopin/Clonazepam, and Ativan/Lorazepam) and barbiturates (Seconal, Nembutal, and Luminal).


Stimulants provide a boost in alertness, mood, and energy levels and are prescribed for conditions like narcolepsy, depression and obesity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Examples of stimulants include Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Provigil.
These drugs act on the brain and nervous system, causing sensations that can lead to addiction and dependence if misused. The ease of acquiring and using these classes of drugs also increases their addiction potential.
About 5% of Canadians who reported using psychoactive prescriptions in the past year reported problematic use. Misusing prescription medications can also lead to overdose and death in some cases. CCFA explains how to get prescription drug addiction treatment for you or a loved one.

Getting Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

At the Canadian Centre for Addiction, we offer treatment, counselling, and support for people dealing with prescription drug addiction. Our programs provide several options for the treatment of various types of prescription drug addiction.

Call 1-855-499-9446 if you or a loved one needs treatment for prescription drug addiction. We offer the most sophisticated treatment in an environment that inspires lasting change. At CCFA, we help people understand their addictions and the healthier coping strategies available to them by engaging them in one-on-one counselling with certified counselors, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals.

How We Treat Prescription Drug Addiction and What to Expect

At CCFA, we offer multiple prescription drug addiction treatment options depending on symptoms and the severity of withdrawal. Our visitors can expect a full range of quality services that provide flexible therapy and counselling for addiction. We understand that your addiction can negatively impact every aspect of your life, so our specialists will assess you and provide an individualized, client-centered approach to treatment. Our prescription drug addiction treatment methods include inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, individual and group counselling, intervention counselling, and lifetime aftercare, all designed to give the patient the best chance at recovery.

When to Seek Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is not always easy to detect. Unless you know their exact prescription, it may be difficult to tell whether a person is abusing the medication or following recommended usage guidelines. A person may also experience the side effects of their prescription medication even when they are not addicted or abusing the drug.

However, you should consider seeking help for prescription drug addiction if you notice the following:

  • You are taking the drug in greater doses or for longer than prescribed
  • You want to stop using your prescription medication but are unable to do so
  • You crave or have an unusual desire to use the medication
  • You spend a great deal of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • You try to get and use the drug without a prescription
  • You keep using the medication even when it is causing significant problems in your work, finances, and relationships
  • You experience diminished productivity at work, school, or home due to using the prescription medication
  • You can’t stop using the drug despite obvious physical and mental health consequences
  • You develop tolerance to the drug – needing higher doses to get the same effects
  • You are becoming dependent on the drug; you cannot function normally without the drug
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug, and these symptoms are only alleviated when you use the drug again

The more these signs you experience, the more severe your situation and the greater your need for professional intervention. People with a drug problem tend to hide and deny the problem, so you may need to proactively encourage a loved one to seek help if you notice they are showing some of these things.

Why Should You Choose the Canadian Centre for Addictions?

Beating addiction is tough, and having a prescription drug addiction treatment centre that provides the right type of care is crucial to successfully overcome your addiction. The Canadian Centre for Addictions offers a patient-centric approach that keeps you connected to your life and responsibilities outside so your transition to regular life is as smooth as possible.
At CCFA, we take our work seriously because we understand that our clients are at a vulnerable point in their life. We are open, honest, and communicative about what we deliver and take the first step towards building the trust needed to form strong bonds with those who need our help.
We also understand that addiction affects not only the individual but others close to them. That’s why our therapists and staff extend their care to helping families cope with addiction while treating their loved ones. We not only help people overcome their addictions, but we also help them navigate the hurdles that addiction creates for those who care about them.
Treatment at CCFA doesn’t end but evolves when you leave. We offer a place where people can return to if things get hard. Our combination of quality inpatient care and the sense of community from our aftercare services provide a balance you can rely on year after year.

The Canadian Centre for Addictions Success Stories

At CCFA, we have recorded tremendous success helping people treat prescription drug addiction and other types of addiction. Here are testimonials from some of our satisfied clients:

“The highly competent staff is able to provide emotional and physical support as well as effective addiction therapy. With an open mind, I found I was able to draw healing from each of the well balanced and skillfully presented meetings and activities. During my stay at CCFA, I learned how to regain control of my life. I left with skills I require to keep moving forward in my recovery. The facility is spacious, comfortable and clean and the community is exceptional. The fitness and activities, as well as the delicious meals, are outstanding. By far, this was the most productive 30 days of my life. A gift from me to me!”

Elliot Hester 


“I came in with a broken soul, full of self-pity, not liking who I was, full of fear and low self-esteem. During my stay, I learned so many valuable lifelong lessons. The counselors challenged me to feel again; to think and understand those feelings, to express my feelings and thoughts. They have taught me the strategies and tools that I must apply to my new life going forward. For the first time in my life, I feel calm, relaxed, strong with the new me, and most importantly, HAPPY. Thank You.”

Edmund Rudd


“My involvement with CCFA has been an absolute lifesaver for me. The entire program and one-on-one sessions have given me the look and strategies to leave with and have a clean and sober life going forward. A very warm, welcoming, home-like environment.”

Martha Esquivel 


“The CCFA has showed me a new way of life. The counselors here are amazing, love working with all of them. I had a great stay and can’t wait to continue my road to recovery with the tools I have learned. Thank you.”

Kiaan Ochoa 

Types of Treatments for Prescription Drug Addiction

We offer various treatment programs for prescription drug addiction at CCFA. There are different types of prescription drugs, and each case of addiction is unique. CCFA provides individualized addiction treatment methods to suit each client’s specific needs.

Our treatment options for prescription drug addiction include:


We perform medically-supervised detoxification to get every trace of the prescription drug of choice out of the individual’s system. Prescription drugs like opioids have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and detox helps to manage those effects safely.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab provides a sober and secure environment for people to recover from prescription drug addiction. It is an intensive form of residential treatment for severe cases of addiction. Inpatient rehab requires living at one of our prescription drug addiction treatment centres so you don’t succumb to the cravings you may experience after detox. Our inpatient rehab and patient-centric protocols are designed to set you on the path to sobriety and wellness. Our programs combine medical intervention with other relevant treatment options for a holistic approach.

Outpatient Treatment

In outpatient treatment for prescription drug addiction, the individual lives at home but attends scheduled appointments and meetings. Recovering addicts with manageable symptoms and sufficient motivation to get better will find outpatient treatment ideal. A reliable support network of friends and family may be needed to help the patient stay on the path to full recovery.


An effective way of completely breaking addiction is to identify the root cause of the addiction. Our addiction counselling programs involve individual or group sessions designed to help participants identify and change these thought patterns and behaviors. It also helps to spot and resolve past trauma that may be fueling addictive behavior. CCFA counselling and intervention programs help addicts develop positive attitudes and skills which they’ll use as they begin their journey to sobriety.


Overcoming addiction is a lifelong journey for many people, and aftercare services are required to keep them continuously sober. Our relapse prevention programs equip patients with tools and coping mechanisms to remain sober when they inevitably encounter triggers. An aftercare treatment plan depends on an individual’s situation and may include outpatient treatment, counselling, and 12-step programs. CCFA offers aftercare programs to help individuals maintain their sobriety after treatment.

What to Expect in Prescription Addiction Treatment

When clients visit us at CCFA for prescription drug addiction treatment, we first conduct a screening to help us understand their situation and design a specific recovery plan. We assess their mental health and medical concerns and also learn whether they’re using any other drug besides their prescription drug of choice.

We will examine you for co-occurring mental health disorders and perform urine and blood tests to determine the quantity of prescription drugs in your system. Your treatment will commence with a detox process to clear all traces of drugs from your system. You’ll be admitted to our inpatient facility if you require round-the-clock supervision and allowed to go and return as an outpatient if your symptoms are manageable.

Depending on the specific situation, recovering prescription addicts may be encouraged to join a support group that connects them with other people recovering from similar addictions. Our treatment programs also involve recreational activities like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga to help clients achieve holistic recovery.

We also offer aftercare and relapse prevention services as part of our treatment program. Our clients learn to identify and devise strategies to avoid or deal with their triggers. CCFA also offers bi-weekly in-person aftercare visits and teleconferencing options to ensure long-term recovery.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Stages

The stages in prescription drug addiction treatment are:

  • Detox
  • Inpatient/Outpatient treatment
  • Counseling/therapy
  • Aftercare

Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction describes the continued use of prescription medication in ways other than prescribed despite obvious harmful physical and mental health consequences. Addiction to prescription drugs usually starts from abuse. A person can abuse prescription drugs in the following ways:

  • Taking larger doses of the drug than prescribed
  • Using medication that was prescribed for someone else
  • Using the medication for non-medical reasons, like getting high
  • Administering the drug in ways other than prescribed, like crushing and snorting or injecting them

While people start using prescription medications by choice, continued wrong use can cause significant brain changes. Over time, the individual begins to develop tolerance – needing higher doses to get the same effects. Prolonged prescription drug use can also lead to dependence, a situation where the individual cannot function effectively without their substance of choice. Soon enough, they become addicted and experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using or reduce their drug intake.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

The withdrawal symptoms a person will experience from prescription drug use depend on the type of substance abused. Withdrawal symptom severity may be mild or severe depending on the drug class and length of addiction.

Prescription drug withdrawal symptoms based on drug classes include:


  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness/irritability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Chills/sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting/abdominal cramps
  • Muscle and bone pain


  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures


  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares/vivid dreams
  • Depression

Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms

The symptoms of prescription drug addiction also depend on the drug class. General symptoms of prescription drug abuse based on drug class include:


  • Respiratory problems/slowed breathing
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Constipation
  • Itchy skin
  • Reduced mobility


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness/confusion
  • Uncontrolled eye movement
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems


  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Hyperactivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Chills/sweating
  • Increased temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate

What are the Causes of Prescription Drug Addiction?

Prescription drugs are usually safe when used within prescribed limits. However, certain factors can increase a person’s chances of becoming addicted to prescription medication:

Genetic factors

A family history of prescription drug addiction can raise a person’s risk of becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

High doses

ndividuals who have prescriptions with high doses have a higher risk of misusing and becoming addicted to drugs. Taking prescription medications for an extended period can also increase the risk of dependence and addiction.

Physical or mental health problems

People with physical problems like chronic pain have a higher risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioids. Individuals with depression, PTSD, and anxiety are also more likely to misuse and become addicted to prescription medications.

History of substance abuse

A history of abusing substances like alcohol or cannabis can increase a person’s chances of becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

Euphoric feelings from drug use

Individuals who experience heightened physiological reactions (a “high”) from prescription medications are likely to keep using them till they become addicted.

Environmental Factors

Peer pressure, early substance exposure, and other social factors can cause young people to misuse prescription drugs.

Long-term Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction can have severe and life-threatening consequences including:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Liver damage
  • Risk of contracting diseases like hepatitis and HIV for people using the drugs intravenously
  • Worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Death from suicide or overdose

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common prescription drug addictions?

The most common prescription drug addictions are opioids, depressants, and stimulant addiction. Opioids are prescribed for pain, while depressants treat anxiety and related disorders. Stimulants improve mood and alertness and are prescribed for conditions like narcolepsy, depression, and ADHD.

What are the signs of prescription drug abuse?

Some signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of euphoria
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Elevated temperature
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Drug tolerance or dependence
Who is at risk of prescription drug abuse?

The people at the most risk of prescription drug abuse include young people between 18 and 25 and older adults aged 65 and above. Others with a family history of drug abuse and early exposure to drugs also carry a high risk of prescription drug abuse.

What are the three rules to follow when taking prescription drugs?

Three rules to follow when taking prescription drugs are:

  • Ask questions about the drug (dosage, expiry date, side effects, contraindications etc.)
  • Only use as directed
  • Safely discard unused medicines
How do I stop taking prescription drugs?

Steps to safely stop taking prescription drugs include:

  • Talking to your doctor about how best to stop
  • Tapering the dose or taking fewer drugs at a time
  • Learn and prepare for the side effects of your drugs if you stop abruptly
What are the two types of prescription drug abuse treatments?

The two types of prescription drug abuse treatments are behavioral therapy and medications to reverse the effect of prescription drugs.

Why is prescription drug abuse on the rise?

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise because more drugs are available than ever before. Doctors are writing more prescriptions than ever, and it’s easier to find online pharmacies selling prescription drugs.

What are the three categories of addictive prescription drug abuse?

The three categories of addictive prescription drug abuse are opioids, stimulants, and depressants.

What are the four tips for taking prescription drugs properly?

Four tips for taking prescription drugs properly are:

  • Only take your drugs as prescribed
  • Store your drugs properly and check their expiry dates
  • Keep a list of all your medications
  • Be aware of potential drug interactions and side effects
How do you tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs?

Some ways you can tell a person is addicted to prescription drugs include:

  • They spend excessive amounts on their prescription
  • They seem obsessed about their next dose and may be agitated if they don’t get it
  • They engage in risky behavior when they use the drug
  • They experience withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to get the drug

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