Teenage substance abuse is an increasingly popular subject, as it should be. Adolescent drug and alcohol abuse statistics can help us monitor the effectiveness of our educational programs, and also to project the future of our ever-changing war on drugs. Over the past few years, teen drinking and smoking (tobacco) has continued to drop. We now face a different enemy—prescription pain pills. One in eight US teens misuses pain drugs on a regular basis, with the misconception that these drugs are “safer” or there is “nothing wrong” with abusing them.
Abuse of prescription drugs is not a behavior all parents recognize, especially since many parents will fail to realize that their prescription medications are being stolen from right under their noses.
According to a study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, about 1 in 5 American teens have used prescription pain drugs, without a prescription. This amounts to approximately 4.5 million teens who have experimented with these highly dangerous and habit-forming substances. The study further indicated that teens feel prescription pain drug experimentation is safer than using illegal street drugs, and that there is nothing wrong with it. This clarifies for many why this trend is so popular and pharmaceutical abuse amongst youth is increasing.
These pain medications, such as Vicodin or Oxy Contin, are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II narcotics—these are defined as having a “high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Despite this, the Partnership’s study showed that nearly 30% of participating teens believed prescription pain drugs cannot be addictive and thus, are safer to use to get high.
Where Are Teens Getting Pain Drugs In The First Place
Prescription pain relievers are available from many sources—all of which beginning with a legitimate prescription. Often a teen will be prescribed the drug for a sports injury or some such pain, and he will sell or trade them with friends. The other way teens end up with these drugs is by stealing them from their parents or adults in their vicinity. Most teens will say these drugs are easy to find at home, or anywhere.
The outbreak of prescription drug abuse has raised questions of doctoral behavior—are doctors over-prescribing these drugs to young people? Are they being prescribed where not necessarily needed? Are these drugs doing more harm than good? How is it that one in eight U.S. teens misuses pain drugs and runs the risk of potential addiction, before even graduating from high school?
Medical and recreational use of pain drugs has soared over the past twenty years in the United States, as have deaths related to prescription opioid overdoses. Due to this, educational programs warning teens of the dangers (and disabusing them of their false notions regarding these drugs) should start earlier in school than was previously considered necessary. Prescription drug abuse habits took the lives of over 14,000 Americans in the year 2008 alone. With abuse starting in teens as young as 16, this is a problem which, through education and tight monitoring of prescriptions, needs to be rapidly gotten under control.
The Narconon drug program has taken a look at teens misuse of pain drugs and feels that there are a number of things that should be put in place to stop the epidemic. First and foremost the prescription given to teens should be closely looked at and reduced. In addition parents who have teens on prescription should monitor their use to make sure they are not abusing the drugs or selling them.
Besides the Narconon drug program, enforcement and prevention groups need to continue to work on the problem.
For more information on teen prescription problem or Narconon drug program contact us today.