I suppose we could pass it off to vernacular speech when we talk about 'drug addiction', but the truth is that using appropriate nomenclature is important when defining the national epidemic in the United States. IT IS PRESCRIPTION ABUSE.
Drugs are illicit substances that people buy on the street or trade. Heroin falls into that category and in most states so does marijuana. The illicit sale of medications such as Oxycontin, Percoset and Opana falls under the same name- with 'illicit' being the major factor.
Medications on the other hand,are prescribed by a physician or nurse practitioner for a medical or psychological condition. The abuse of these medications is the leading cause of concern in this country. Taken as prescribed, medications mitigate pain, lessen anxiety and lift depression. The problem comes when people share their medications or take them as they feel like it to change their emotional state. I understand the pressure that we are all under- never being able to shut down or turn off (computers on IM at work and at home, cell phones and text in the car and when we walk,shop or work out; and the radio competing with TV and the internet for our attention). Yet self-medicating to deal wit these stressors IS NOT THE ANSWER. IT IS THE PROBLEM!