It seems now more than ever that people are using prescription drugs for reasons other than why their doctor prescribed them. This is especially affecting the younger generation as they continue to have more and more access to harmful prescription drugs every day.
While parents may be concerned that their children are getting ahold of street drugs like cocaine, the threat of drugs that come straight from the pharmacy is much more eminent currently. In fact, according to a study, over 2,000 kids a day per between the ages of 12 and 17 will abuse a prescription drug for the first time. Additionally, over two million kids reported that they had abused prescriptions drugs in a given year. This is an even higher rate than kids in this same age group reported using marijuana. Seeing as how the efforts to prevent alcohol, street drugs, and cigarette use in teenagers are still so prominent, it is disappointing to know that there have been minimal efforts to educate kids of this age about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. This is where you, as the parent, come in.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Seeing as how prescription medication is regulated by the government, these drugs pose a number of risks and are considered to be extremely dangerous. When a doctor writes out a prescription, the only person who is allowed to take that prescription is the person whose name is on the medication’s bottle. These drugs have been determined by the doctor to be safe and effective for the patient to take. If someone takes the prescription medication when it has not be prescribed to them by the doctor, this is an illegal act.
When someone is abusing drugs, it not only entails taking medication that is not prescribed to them. It can also include taking your own medications in a way that was not intended by your doctor. This can mean taking a higher dose than recommended, in a form that is not recommended (oral vs. nasal), or taking medication more often than suggested by your doctor.
What Types of Prescription Drugs are Being Abused?
It has been reported by adolescents and teens that getting ahold of prescription drugs is extremely easy. This is often thought to be because of the number of prescription medications that are in the home with a teenager at any given time. With parents, grandparents, and other adults storing their medication in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom, these drugs are truly at many teenager’s disposal. While it may not have occurred to the adults in the house to store their medication in a more secure place, it really should be considered. Not only can the adolescents in a home take these pills themselves, but they are also known to sell the medication to others.
For the most part, prescription drugs that are most abused by teenagers are the following:
Stimulants – these include drugs like Ritalin, Concerta, and Dexedrine. Any medications that are prescribed to people with ADHD and asthma.
Painkillers – these include drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Codeine. Any medications that are prescribed for relief from temporary or chronic pain.
Depressants – these include drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Soma. Any medications that are prescribed for sleeping disorders or anxiety.
Are Prescription Drugs Really That Bad?
The most important reason to stress to your teenager how harmful prescription drugs can be if they are abused is how habit-forming they are. When someone abuses drugs like this for even a short amount of time, a physical and psychological dependence and addiction can be formed. Additionally, the risk of overdosing with drugs like this is extremely high. In unison with the addiction, the user will find that they need to take more and more of the drug in order for it to give them the most basic effects. This often results in people taking too much and therefore leads to an overdose.
Abusing prescription drugs also comes with a hefty amount of side effects such as poor concentration, slurred speech, dizziness, nausea and loss of coordination.
Seeing as how young people are still developing, introducing prescription drugs into their systems can have significant effects. These include stunted brain development and damage to organs like the kidneys.
Protect Your Teenager From Prescription Drugs
If you are concerned that your teenager has been abusing prescription drugs, it’s time to intervene. Contact Fire Mountain Programs today and find out what we can do to assist you. We offer teen counseling and therapy, as well as a beautiful rehabilitation center in the mountains for extreme cases. Contact us now to learn more.