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If you live in New Jersey and are somewhere between 18 and 25 years old, you are among other young adults throughout the nation who are most at risk for misuse of prescription drugs. Studies show your age group ranks highest for non-medical use of various types of prescription medications. In fact, even in age groups younger than yours, prescription drug abuse seems to be prevalent, with one in 12 high school seniors claiming to have used prescription medication (such as the stimulant, Adderall) in non-medical situations.

Even for people who have absolutely no history of controlled substance abuse, certain prescription medications may place them at risk for problems in this area. Prescription drugs are not only associated with possible adverse health conditions, but can lead to trouble with the law as well.

Three prescription drugs often misused

Many types of medication require a doctor's prescription for lawful use. If you've ever pulled a muscle in your back or suffered from an attention deficit disorder, your doctor may have treated you with prescription drugs. Three types of drugs doctors most frequently prescribe include the following:

· Opioids: This class of drugs has opiate-like properties that are powerful painkillers. Drugs like oxycodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl are part of this category.

· Stimulants: Such drugs raise levels of nervous activity in the body. Medication of this type can often increase alertness, energy levels and ability to focus.

· Depressants: When a doctor prescribes a depressant medication, it is usually to provide a calm, tranquil effect. In other words, depressants reduce arousal and stimulation - essentially the opposites of stimulants.

Millions of people in America reportedly use prescription drugs in non-medical ways every year. There are various factors that may impact this type of behavior, including gender, age and accessibility of such drugs in a particular situation. Some people say they try prescription drugs because they want to experience the effects but are afraid of other types of street drugs they believe to be more dangerous, such as cocaine or heroin. Many people obtain prescription drugs from family members or buy them from their friends.

Perhaps you've been in a situation where you were suffering severe muscle-pain or some other condition when someone offered you a pill to help ease your pain. It's easy to forget that only the person for whom the doctor wrote the prescription may take the pills inside the container. Anyone who shares, sells or otherwise misuses such drugs may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Where to find support

A momentary lapse in judgment or even a substance abuse problem does not necessarily mean you will wind up in jail. If you ask for help from an experienced defense attorney, you may be able to avoid conviction and get your life back on track in the process. An attorney would also be able to provide various resources in New Jersey for counseling services or other rehabilitative programs if needed.

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