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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

December 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Prescription Drug Abuse

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

Today’s teens abuse prescription drugs, especially opiates, more than any other group in history. Teen prescription drug abuse has increased 10-fold since the 1960’s. Experts estimate that 20% of teens have used prescription drugs to get high. Most teens that abuse prescription drugs find them in a parent or grandparent’s medicine cabinet. Many teens perceive prescription drugs to be safer than street drugs because they are manufactured by professionals. Prescription drugs are extremely addictive, and very dangerous, especially when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Why are prescription drugs so popular among youth?

Prescription drugs have become the new teen drug of choice. Only marijuana abuse is more common than teen prescription drug abuse.   The first reason for this is that prescription drugs are more readily available than they once were. As more and more people get prescribed to prescription medication, there is more opportunity for teen prescription drug abuse. Parents, grandparents, and neighbors increasingly have these medications prescribed to them, and they are readily available to teens.

Teen prescription drug abuse is also more common because we as a society have made it more acceptable. Experts have dubbed America a “self-drugging society.” We are often too quick to pop pills when something doesn’t feel quite right. Americans are also far more likely to adhere to a medication regimen than to participate in alternative treatment for an ailment. Because of this attitude, teens don’t view prescription drugs as dangerous. They may even be prescribed narcotics for ADHD or anxiety. It doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Finally, getting something from a parent or neighbors medicine cabinet doesn’t seem as dangerous as copping drugs on the street. Teens believe that these drugs are safer than traditional street drugs.

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: What can parents do?

It has been shown that talking to your child is effective against teen prescription drug abuse. The more you are clear with your children about the dangers of drug and the more you monitor them for teen prescription drug abuse, the less likely they are to abuse prescription drugs. Here are some steps a parent can take to help prevent teen prescription drug abuse.

1. Don’t assume your teen is immune; teen prescription drug abuse is very common.

2. Talk to your child about the dangers of teen prescription drug abuse. Start an ongoing dialogue.

3. Educate yourself: Be able to recognize the signs of teen prescription drug abuse. Educate yourself about the kind of drugs kids are trying.

4. Put prescription drugs out of reach: Lock up medications you take and get rid of any you don’t use anymore. Give-back programs are safe, easy ways to get rid of prescription drugs.

5. Know where your teen is and who is supervising: Make sure that a responsible adult will be supervising at all times.

6. Check their electronics: Monitor your teen’s internet usage, particularly social media sites.

7. Watch for changing behavior, unkempt appearance, pinpoint pupils, or any of the other signs of teen prescription drug abuse. Educate yourself on what to look for.

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