Prescription drug abuse has become one of the major issues today’s teens face. According to statistics, teens make up a third of 6,000 Americans who have started misusing prescription drugs. In fact, painkillers rank second after marijuana in the list of drugs abused by American teens.
Why Prescription Drugs are More Popular
Statistics show a 91% increase in the number of teens dying due to prescription drug poisoning between 2000 and 2009. What makes this type of drugs popular with adolescents is the fact that it is easily accessible. Most American households have ample painkillers that were prescribed for medical purposes but ended up in the hands of teens who misused them.
Another reason why teens choose prescription drugs is because they believe that they are safer than street drugs and alcohol. Had they been dangerous, their parents wouldn’t have kept them lying around in the medicine cabinet. Besides, why would a physician prescribe something dangerous? All of these thoughts have misled teens and drove them to choose what they believe is a “harmless” option.
The Top 5 Prescription Drugs Teens Use
As the parent or guardian of a teen, you need to know which prescription drugs your teen may become addicted to. So, here is a quick overview of the five most abused drugs.
1. OxyContin: This narcotic pain reliever has become one of the top prescription drugs abused by today’s teens. Offering double the potency of morphine, OxyContin contains an opioid by the name Oxycodone. Like other opioids, Oxycodone is quite dangerous as it has the same effects as heroin. Therefore, many teens have made an easy transition from OxyContin to heroin.
2. Vicodin: Vicodin is a central nervous system depressant and one of the popular prescription drugs teens experiment with. It is so easy to obtain since many casually prescribe it and drug stores readily provide it. However, once used, it makes a teen highly dependent on it and ultimately addicted. What makes it even more problematic is the fact that many choose to overdose on Vicodin or mix it with alcohol and other medications. Both of these acts can lead to death if not detected right away.
3. Adderall: Adderall is one of the common drugs prescribed for ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Teen who don’t suffer from ADHD choose this amphetamine due to its performance boosting capabilities, which enables them to concentrate better and get higher test scores. However, its side effects can be devastating as addicts can develop insomnia, mania and even full-blown psychosis. In addition, there have been studies linking this prescription drug with heart failure and sudden death.
4. Xanax: Used to treat anxiety disorders, Xanax is very effective in relieving its users. When abused, it can be quite addictive and its users are susceptible to overdose. However, it is most dangerous when combined with other medications or alcohol as that can lead to death.
5. Valium: Another prescription diet for anxiety, valium relaxes the muscles and can be used as a sedative. Teens abuse this drug because it soothes them and makes them feel calm. Now abusers may not suffer from side effects while using this drug, but they will be in danger during the withdrawal and recovery stages. Once the teen stops using valium, their brain wakes up suddenly and causes seizures.
What You Should Do
As you can see, not all prescription drug abuse cases can be handled through rehab. Therefore, prevention is better than cure in this case. If you want to ensure that your child doesn’t become a prescription drug abuser, the first thing you need to teach them is that prescription drugs can be just as harmful as street drugs. Most teens haven’t been made aware of this fact, which is why they tend to go for this type of drugs.
Just informing your adolescents about the dangers of prescription drugs isn’t enough. You need to take additional measures to protect all of your medicines and keep them away from your children’s hands. For example, you can tell your teens to ask you for the drugs they need rather than taking them out on their own. In addition, you should keep tabs on the number of pills in each container to ensure that your children aren’t abusing them.
It is with you that your children’s drug education starts, so make sure to keep it comprehensive so that they don’t become the victims of drugs.
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