The Most Dangerous Legal Drugs

Just because some meds are sold without a prescription doesn't mean they are safe


Laws are meant to protect society, but they are not flawless. A war on drugs has been ongoing for decades, and those fighting it can often look no farther than the local pharmacy.[slideshow:87852]

Most drugs are manufactured to treat illnesses and help people lead healthier lives. Pharmacy and drug store sales in the U.S. jumped from $78 billion in 1992 to $251 billion in 2014. Global sales reached a milestone of $1 trillion in 2014, and forecasts show a growth to $1.3 trillion by 2018, according to the 2015 CMR Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook.

Medications are often prescribed to ease pain and alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions. However, the drugs themselves can become a chronic problem or cause acute and severe side effects, including brain damage and death. The reason for them, most of the time, is accidental overdose.

But many people don’t know how really dangerous an over the counter medicine, such as Tylenol, can be. It’s very easy to take too much because it’s present in many other drugs for which you don’t need a prescription, Dr. Scott R. Drab from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, says.

Drugs often have short term side effects such as impaired judgment or confusion. But a prolonged use of even one category of pills can often lead to liver failure, stroke, high blood pressure, addiction, brain damage, and suicidal tendencies. A combination of different kinds, such as opioids and alcohol, significantly increase the risks. 

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