Prescription Drug Abuse in Adolescents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 52 million Americans use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at least once in their life. Every day, approximately 44 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses. Thus, it is an alarming scenario with prescription painkillers causing more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits annually. No wonder, the prescription drug abuse helpline numbers never stop ringing.

It is more terrifying when it comes to adolescents. Being young with impressionable minds, they are more susceptible to fall prey to prescription drug abuse. Seeking prescription drug addiction treatment help remains the only solution in such a situation.

According to the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, one out of every five teens in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs to get high. Almost half of them who have abused prescription painkillers also report abusing two or more drugs, including marijuana. They are also likely to abuse alcohol. Children reportedly do not feel any guilt pangs, because the drugs aren’t illegal and are also not shamed because they are not abusing illicit drugs, just prescription medicines. Adolescents abusing prescription drugs without any sign of inhibition is a dangerous trend.

As per a study titled “Psychotropic Medication Use among Adolescents: United States, 2005-2010,” about 6.3 percent U.S. adolescents reported any type of psychotropic medication use in the past month, during the period 2005-2010. The study, conducted by Bruce S. Jonas, Sc.M., Ph.D., Qiuping Gu, M.D., Ph.D. and Juan R. Albertorio-Diaz, M.A., has summed the findings as below:

The highest abuse seen is of antidepressants (3.2 percent) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) drugs (3.2 percent). They are followed by antipsychotics (1 percent); anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics (0.5 percent); and antimanics (0.2 percent).
Males (4.2 percent) are more likely to use ADHD drugs as compared to females (2.2 percent), and females (4.5%) are more likely than males (2 percent) to use antidepressants.
The use of psychotropic drug was higher among non-Hispanic white (8.2 percent) adolescents than non-Hispanic black (3.1 percent) and Mexican-American (2.9 percent) adolescents.
Approximately half of the U.S. adolescents using psychotropic drugs in the past month had seen a mental health professional in the past year (53.3 percent).

Adolescents and prescription drugs

According to a 2008 report of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 64 percent of the youth aged 12 to 17 who have abused pain relievers said they got the medicines from friends or relatives, often without the other person’s knowledge. Very few of them said that they procured prescription medicines from the internet.

However, they engaged in online chat and gathered information about drugs and others’ experiences. Another potential place to obtain prescription drugs is their respective schools. Rampant exchange of medicines and trade flourish in the corridors.

Ways to check abuse

The study feels that prescription drug abuse in adolescents should be taken seriously like any other abuse. Parents and caregivers have a significant role to play in curbing this menace. Since a school is a fertile spot for procuring prescription drugs, authorities have a pivotal role in addressing it. Regular seminars and inviting guest speakers to talk on the dangers of this can help in reducing this threat.

Government agencies should also exert their influence and work towards eradicating abuse of prescription drugs. Introducing stringent laws, implementing reforms and educating the people at large will go a long way.

Suffering From Drug Abuse

Many people do not realize that they suffer from drug abuse problems. There are many different substances that count as drugs. Abusing these substances might only mean using them to a degree more than they were intended.

For instance, caffeine is a drug. There are many different ways that a human being can take caffeine into their body. In this day and age there are like five different kinds of energy drinks at any gas station market. Each of these energy drinks will contain a high amount of caffeine. If someone were to drink many of these energy drinks in one day, then they would be suffering from drug abuse. Still, if someone asked them if they had a problem with abuse, they might not think that they do.

There are definitely harsher forms of abuse than caffeine abuse. Hardcore drugs have the potential to wreck the human body a lot more than the lesser drugs. Still, the lesser drugs can harm the body quite a bit as well.

The problem is that some people associate drug abuse with illegal drugs. There are many drugs that are very legal to buy. These drugs can be abused. What it all boils down to is that everyone has to be careful about what they take into their body. The government isn’t going to make everything that’s bad for the body illegal. Instead, they are going to leave some decisions up to the people. That means that people need to be learned enough to figure out what they should or shouldn’t take into their body.

Sometimes people are having an illegal abuse problem without even knowing about it. When a doctor prescribes a certain amount of medication, it is illegal to go beyond the prescribed amount. There are many people who don’t seem to think there is a problem with this. In fact, there are some doctors who make a living on overprescribing people medication. They are actually helping people with their abuse.

I feel that part of thing that drives abuse in middle class society is the fact that moderately wealthy to extremely wealthy people don’t think that they can have a drug abuse problem. They think they are somehow above the entire drug abuse situation.

That’s just not true. Anyone who has access to drugs can have an abuse problem. Drugs are incredibly addictive, and so everyone is subject to having a problem with them. The sooner high society admits that they suffer from drug abuse as much as everyone else, the sooner we can all start solving this problem together.

Still, this won’t happen until drug abuse is more clearly defined for people. Simply put: drug abuse is abusing drugs. Legal drugs that are overused are being abused. It’s as simple as that. The problem with most types of drugs is that they are so addictive that people can’t help but take more of them than they should. This is why abuse is even a problem.