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Ontario Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Canada. Canada uses more opioid, benzodiazepine, and stimulant prescriptions than 90 percent of all countries. In 2017, 1 in 5 Canadians over the age of 15 used a psychoactive prescription drug, according to data compiled by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

Prescription drugs are often powerful, and many can be addictive. For these reasons, prescription medications must be prescribed by a doctor or dentist.

What starts out as normal, prescribed drug use for health conditions like depression, anxiety, or chronic pain sometimes escalates into prescription drug dependence. Young people who get hooked often start by experimenting with prescription drugs they find at home.

Types of Prescription Drugs

When it comes to addiction and dependency, certain categories of prescription drugs are of greater concern. They include:

  • Opioids (narcotics)
  • CNS depressants
  • Stimulants


Prescription opioids are a class of powerful drugs used to treat moderate to severe pain. They work by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and changing the way a person perceives pain.

Opioids don’t address the root cause of pain; rather they mask it. The reason these drugs can be so addictive is because they cause a release of the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain. This can make the user feel relaxed and calm, even when there is pain happening in their body.

Today, opioids are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in Canada. Opioid manufacturers have come under major scrutiny in recent years for flooding the market with opioid drugs, using aggressive marketing tactics, and not properly warning doctors about the risk of abuse and addiction opioids pose, resulting in an epidemic of opioid addiction.

The numbers are striking. In 2016 alone, there were 2,861 opioid-related deaths and 16 opioid-related hospitalizations each day.

Examples of Prescription Opioids

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Oxycontin
  • Opana
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Roxanol

People struggling with opioid addiction usually need help to be successful in their recovery goals. Most people go through a detoxification process, followed by residential inpatient treatment.

CNS Depressants

Prescription central nervous system (CNS) depressants are a class of drugs that includes sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics.

Many CNS depressants work by downregulating a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This helps slow down brain activity, which can be helpful for people with anxiety, panic disorder, and similar mental health conditions. But it comes with a downside.

CNS depressants may also boost dopamine levels, which can produce feelings of euphoria. This can lead some users to misuse these drugs. But the real danger comes with mixing prescription depressants with drugs like cocaine or alcohol, which can slow breathing rates to fatal levels.

Examples of CNS Depressants

  • Valium
  • Ambien
  • mephobarbital
  • Klonopin
  • Lunesta
  • phenobarbital
  • Xanax
  • Sonata
  • pentobarbital sodium

Many people struggling with addiction to CNS depressants need help to quit. Detoxing from drugs like benzodiazepines requires medical supervision, since the person may have seizures.


Prescription stimulant drugs also act on the central nervous system. Only instead of slowing down brain activity, they stimulate the brain.

It may sound counterintuitive, but for people with mental health conditions that impede focus and concentration, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stimulants can actually calm them down and improve attention and focus. It’s why drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are often prescribed for people with ADHD. 

But using stimulants to boost concentration (to cram for college midterm exams, for example) or taking them recreationally can quickly lead to addiction. The energy boost people get from taking prescription stimulants can be hard to resist. Taking pills can escalate into IV drug use or snorting the powder of crushed stimulant pills.

Examples of CNS Depressants

  • Ritalin
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Vyvanse
  • Concerta
  • Focalin
  • ProCentra
  • Zenzedi


Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at CHRC

If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, CHRC can help. 

Our therapy program nourishes and rebalances the body with healthy whole foods. 

The world-class care team at CHRC includes licensed psychotherapists, experienced addiction counsellors, fitness experts, and others who work together to create personalized care plans for our clients.

Individual and group therapy sessions are core parts of our inpatient residential programs. We also offer concurrent mental health programs for clients struggling with conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

Ready to get prescription drug addiction help? Get in touch with us today to learn more about our Ontario prescription drug rehab in Peterborough.

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2225 Lansdowne St West 
Peterborough ON K9J 0G5