Because prescription drug abuse is such a significant problem among our youth, I can't imagine being the parent of a school aged child today. Kids are approached with substance use at a much younger age anymore and prescription pills are often the type of drug adolescents and teens may be willing to try.
Reasons Why Some Teens May Turn to Prescription Drug Abuse
There's a lot of reasons an adolescent may consider trying painkillers or other prescription drugs. Because prescription drugs are legal medications teens view them as safer substances to try if they want to get high. Teens also use them to fit in with their peers, to lose weight, for study aids, or to relieve depression and anxiety. Maybe they have suffered the loss of a loved or friend and are unable to cope. Many teens are victims of mental, physical or sexual abuse and prescription medications mask their emotional and sometimes physical pain for a while.
Prescription Drug Dangers
Teens don't realize just how addictive opiate painkillers are or, how habit forming many prescription drugs can be when they're misused. Prescription drugs have side effects, there's allergic reactions to consider, precautions to take regarding combining medications and alcohol, serious health risks associated with long term use especially when they're abused and there's always a risk of overdose.
These are things adults even forget about at times so it's understandable that teens may not realize the dangers involved with prescription drug use and misuse. There's also short term and long term health consequences to consider when a person uses prescription drugs incorrectly so they can be just as dangerous as illicit drug use.
Widely Abused Prescription Drugs
Narcotic pain relievers and stimulants are among the popular prescription drugs teens are using today. Non-medical use of these drugs among teens has risen greatly in the past several years but they're also abused by young and older adults as well.
Prescription Painkillers Abused
Painkillers like OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone) are very widely abused and not just among our youth. These are powerful opioids, they induce euphoria when they're misused and they're highly addictive that's why so many people have moved on to heroin today. Painkillers are very dangerous when they're abused because breathing can be reduced to dangerous levels.
Some of the potential health consequences of prescription opioid pain relievers include tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma and death. When narcotic pain medications are combined with alcohol, the risk of death increases but that's also true if they're mixed with other central nervous system depressants.
Prescription Stimulants Abused
Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin can lead to dependence as well because they're also addictive. These medications are used to treat ADHD and other conditions but they're abused today for various reasons. Prescription stimulants can induce feelings of euphoria when they're misused so many young people use them recreationally.
Stimulants increase mental alertness and energy but they also decrease appetite so people often turn to them to lose weight. Prescription stimulants are commonly used by teens and many college students to help them stay up all night to study for final exams and to achieve better grades.
They don't realize the potential health consequences associated with these drugs though, nervousness, insomnia, seizures, heart attacks, and strokes are just a few of the health risks associated with stimulant drug abuse. Prescription drugs are widely available on the internet from illegal pharmacies but teens also get them from friends, relative's homes without their knowledge or even from their own home. Most everyone has prescription drugs and over the counter medications in their home and parents often keep them in the medicine cabinet or in other places where they're easily found.