When was the last time you were in a hospital? Perhaps you had surgery or you might have been involved in a car accident. In 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 36.1 million people were discharged from a hospital with an average length of stay of nearly five days each. Not only that but 48 million people underwent a procedure of some kind, including outpatient surgeries. Many of these individuals were prescribed some kind of pain medication for use either while in the hospital or after they went home. Prescription pain medication is highly addictive. Generally, they are opiate-based and work in the brain in a fashion similar to heroin. Painkillers are not the only type of prescription medication that can lead to addiction, however, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Others types of drugs that are available legally, and often misused, include stimulants and central nervous systems depressants.