What is Prescription Drug Sharing?
An increasing number of teens are using prescription drugs for various reasons. When people use prescription drugs that were not originally prescribed to them, it’s called prescription drug sharing. Teens may share prescription drugs with their friends, peers, or other people they may know. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription (Rx) opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.” Some teens may abuse these drugs in order to concentrate better in school while others use them recreationally to produce a “high.” Either way, the combination of teens and prescription drugs is a serious issue that requires treatment and monitoring.
Prescription drugs abuse in teens is something that all parents should watch out for. Many teens and young adults believe that prescription medications are safe since they were prescribed by a doctor, but they can have detrimental effects on individuals who consume the drug for different reasons than an illness or in larger doses than prescribed. The NIDA also states that “In 2014, more than 1,700 young adults died from prescription drug (mainly opioid) overdoses, and many more needed emergency treatment.” With these staggering statistics, it is important to keep your child safe from teen prescription drug abuse.
Which Prescription Drugs are Most Commonly Abused?
Narcotic painkillers (opioids) — these drugs include OxyContin, Lortab, Demerol, Vicodin, Lorcet, Actiq, Dolophine, and many others. Teens may abuse narcotic painkillers in order to experience the “high” that these drugs produce. The chemicals in these drugs attach to little parts of nerve cells called opioid receptors, producing many effects on the mind and body. Even though teens may abuse narcotic painkillers for the sole purpose of getting high, it may lead to serious addiction down the road.
ADHD medications — Since ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in students when they find it hard to focus and concentrate in school, it is a common time for children and teens to get their hands on ADHD medications. ADHD medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin, stimulate the brain by increasing the level of dopamine produced. As a result, individuals find that they can concentrate better. Many teens and young adults may abuse ADHD medications so they can focus better and function more properly.
How can I Keep my Teen Safe?
- Keep an open channel of communication — many teens feel like they can’t talk to their parents about the problems they are having medically or personally. It’s extremely important to let your child know that you are there for them in these ways and that if they have any medical problems they should be addressed.
- Teach them about drugs — and how important it is to not abuse them. When you educate your children about the dangers of medications when not prescribed, you can be involved when they are prescribed medication versus them going behind your back to get it.
- Keep them updated on the news — if you see that there was an overdose on the news, show your child. That way, they will know that drug abuse is a serious issue that can affect anyone.
- Check up on them — ask them about their friends, how school is going, if they are happy in life; anything to learn a little about how they are feeling. By checking on their feelings, you will be able to address any necessary problems before even bigger ones start.
If you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug use, call Safe Prevention at 1-877-503-2608 to get help today. Safe Prevention wants to help individuals suffering from drug abuse get the resources they need to learn about addiction prevention and treatment. Call Safe Prevention today to get started on your journey to long-term recovery!