Prescription drug abuse can develop from permitted use that began to treat a condition which needed medication. Once the mind and body develops a tolerance, more of the drugs can be needed in order to prevent pain from returning. Doctors are trained to detect the emergence of this kind of problem, usually when a patient has been requesting higher doses, and can then exercise their authority to take a prescription away, or alternatively limit the doses. In order to find the drugs which they need, users have then been seen to go from doctor to doctor in order to acquire the drugs which they need. Prescription forgery is another problem which is recognised as being a consequent problem of prescription drugs abuse.
Young people who become caught up in the issue of prescription drug abuse often acquire the drugs through friends who have access to pills, or from the medicine chests of friends and family members. There is also a black market for prescription drugs which involves ‘dealers’ acquiring large amounts of the drugs from doctors who are operating outside of the law.