What is OTC Drug Abuse? (Over The Counter Drugs) Drugs sold without prescription. There are many different kinds of over the counter drugs that are used to treat a variety of illnesses and symptoms. However, some OTC drugs contain active ingredients that make them more likely to be abused. They are also very easy to misuse because they are widely available, inexpensive, legal, and have no age requirement or limit on how much can be purchased. Over the Counter drug abuse has increased in recent years, especially among teenagers and young adults. Many people will abuse OTC drugs to self-medicate symptoms at home or to get high. Common signs of OTC drug abuse include: Mood swings Memory lapses Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns Lack of interest in hobbies and regular activities Empty medicine bottles in the trash Disappearing medication from the medicine cabinet Regular large purchases of OTC medications when it’s not necessary The misuse of over the counter drugs can lead to serious physical health problems, dependence, and addiction. Although OTC drugs can be addictive, other prescription drugs and illegal substances are more potent. A person who is misusing OTC drugs may be more likely to move on to other drugs like prescription painkillers or marijuana in search of a stronger high.