When most people imagine drugs of abuse, they think of legal substances, like alcohol and tobacco, prescription drugs, like opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines, or illegal drugs, like heroin, cocaine, meth, or marijuana. Although these are commonly abused substances, which can become addictive and produce dangerous consequences, they are not the only intoxicating substances available. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in the United States, and as more regulators crack down on this problem, people who struggle with addiction or substance abuse are turning to over-the-counter (OTC) substances.
There are many substances that are available over the counter, which can, in large enough doses, cause intoxication, a euphoric high, or hallucinations. Many people may falsely believe that because these substances are legal and available at places like pharmacies and grocery stores that they are safer to abuse than illicit or controlled substances. Despite their widespread availability, it is very dangerous to abuse OTC substances.