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Are Teens Abusing Prescription Drugs While Parents Remain Unaware?

Two Million Children Using Prescription Drugs

In reports from multiple sources, the picture is being drawn of increasing teen prescription drug use. One such report comes from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and Columbia University( CASA). In their annual study published in 2011, CASA findings stated that more than two million student-aged children were abusing prescription drugs.

Is it possible that there are two million households where the parents are unaware of their teen’s prescription drug use? Interviews with those who started abusing prescription drugs as teens show that in many cases, the teen prescription drug use went on for quite some time before the parents were alerted. After all, prescription drug abuse is not as obvious as alcohol abuse. There’s no smell of OxyContin or Xanax on a young person’s breath after use.

Obtaining Prescription Drugs

Manipulation, deception and drug use seem to go hand in hand. After a person reaches the stage of true addiction to the drugs being abused, this is even more true as that person feels that his ability to cope with life and avoid agonizing withdrawals depends on avoiding detection. Even at a young age, people get very clever at explaining away mistakes, accidents and problems in life that are actually the result of substance abuse.

Like John B. from Boston, for example. He flunked out college due to his drug use but told his parents he was still going to school. He was dropped off in the morning at the community college and then walked home to hide out for the rest of the day. And Ryan T. from Atlanta. His parents didn’t realize that he was using marijuana, alcohol and cocaine in his high school years until his grades finally crashed and he lost a scholarship everyone had been counting on.

What Drugs are Teens Relying on?

The prescription drugs commonly being abused by teens include:

  • Opioid pain relieves like OxyContin, Lortab, Vicodin, Opana and others
  • Central nervous system depressants like Xanax and Valium
  • Stimulants often used to treat people diagnosed with ADHD, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall
  • Over-the-counter drugs, including cough medications with dextromethorphan (DXM)

Obtaining Prescription Drugs

Teens obtain these drugs by stealing them from their own family’s or other people’s medicine chests, trading out their own prescriptions or getting them from the internet. They can also be purchased from drug dealers who traffic in illicit drugs. In the last few years, state governments have been closing one loophole after another to prevent the illicit distribution of prescription drugs but the statistics on teen prescription drug abuse are still rising.

Drug addiction treatment statistics for the US show that more than 150,000 young people find their way to rehab each year to recover from teen prescription drug use that turns into addiction. Nationally, only about one person in ten (of any age) who needs drug rehabilitation finds it. If the same proportion held true for teens, it would indicate that there were more than a million and a half teens who need help in the US alone.

Competition, Particularly in College, Drives Many Young People to Start Abusing Prescription Drugs

The drive to achieve in school is what causes some people to start abusing stimulant type drugs. Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, prescribed for ADHD, are often abused by students who want to cram for a test or stay up all night to complete an assignment. Or they may want to abuse these drugs so they can stay up and party when they are already tired.

College Drug Use and Trafficking

On college campuses, students of all ages traffic these addictive stimulants to each other. Those who have legitimate prescriptions for the drugs are often pressured to provide them to others. Some other students learn how to manipulate the student health services to get their own pills.

Using Non-Prescribed Prescription Drugs

What is particularly dangerous is the number of teens in high school who do not feel that it is particularly dangerous to abuse prescription drugs. Out of about 13 million students, more than a million thought that using a prescription drug that was not prescribed for one was either not dangerous at all or was minimally dangerous.

Narconon Drug Solution

When students hit the more competitive atmosphere of college, the stress can be too much to bear, and prescription drug abuse may become a regular event. When one’s career is at risk in this way, the answer is the Narconon drug rehab program.

The Narconon drug rehab program is long-term, residential and holistic. Holistic means that it addresses the whole person and the problems that may have led him or her to drug use and addiction. Without eliminating the underlying reasons, those same stresses may lead the person back into substance abuse again in the future. At centers like Narconon Vista Bay in Northern California, those who have become addicted can recover in beautiful surroundings, helped by supportive staff who understand both the problem and the solution.

Trapped in Drug Addiction

When someone you care about has become trapped in addiction, contact Narconon to get all the details on how this program can bring them back to a sober, healthy life again. Call the international offices of Narconon at 800-775-8750.


Resources:

http://www.casacolumbia.org/upload/2011/20110629adolescentsubstanceuse.pdf

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/drugs/rise-in-prescription-stimulant-abuse-concerns-college-administrators

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/education/edlife/jacobs31.html?scp=1&sq=adderall%20advantage&st=cse