Gabapentin, or 'Johnnys,' prescription drug being abused, report says

Posted at 9:34 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 13:25:42-04

There's a medication that treats multiple disorders that has some worried about its potential to be abused and lead to addiction.

Gabapentin, also known as "Johnnys," is prescribed for epilepsy, mood disorders, nerve pain and more.

Research indicates purchases of gabapentin on the black market are on the rise. Its brand name is Neurontin and it acts as a sedative (gives a drowsy sensation), according to

It's an FDA-approved pill and it does not carry the same risk of lethal overdoses as opioids do, says.

But the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported in early 2017 that 109 people in West Virginia died from overdosing on gabapentin in 2015.

Gabapentin also treats insomnia and migraines, according to An addiction specialist said the drug is definitely rising as one he sees often. And a doctor who wrote a dissertation on gabapentin said there was a 3,000 percent increase in abuse in Appalachia from 2008-2014.

In the state of Ohio, pharmacies began being required to report sales of gabapentin in December 2016, the Gazette Mail reported.