How do Young People Acquire these Drugs?
These prescription drugs are being passed from one young person’s hand to another in great volume. According to the Monitoring the Future survey for 2012, half of high school seniors felt that it would be fairly easy or very easy to acquire prescription painkillers to abuse if they wanted to.
Once again, some teens are turning to the internet to acquire drugs they want. A few years ago, many US internet pharmacies were shut down, and fewer teens were getting drugs through this channel. Now, overseas internet pharmacies are sending more drugs into the US in response to internet or phone orders. A Washington D.C. watchdog group called Digital Citizens Alliance found it easy for teens working for them to order drugs from these businesses. When the shipments were received, some of the drugs were real and others were not the substances promised. An enterprising young person can acquire these drugs in this manner and sell them to others.
Drug dealers often stock these drugs along with illicit drugs like marijuana and cocaine.
And of course, some young people get them from their homes and the homes of family or friends. If they have jobs that take them into customers’ homes, they may ask to use the bathroom and then look for drugs. Another common pattern is for a young person who craves drugs to lift some when he visits an ailing grandparent, aunt or uncle or other relative or friend of the family. Similarly, a young person may steal drugs from the home of a relative who has just died.
You might think that your child would never, ever do something like this. In a way, you’re right. But drug abuse changes a person’s personality quickly. There is a fast erosion of morals, replaced by an insistent craving for drugs that seems to override the principles that have guided a person in his (or her) earlier life.
It’s tragic that some young people are prescribed these drugs and then become addicted to them. It may be that he used painkillers just as directed after a sports injury or surgery. A body quickly develops a tolerance for opiates, meaning that more of the drug is needed to get the same effect. If a person truly is in pain, the painkiller may cover up the pain for a while, then, as the tolerance develops, he will need more pills or a stronger dosage. The doctor may increase the dosage once, twice or more times but then he will usually stop. He may even refuse to prescribe any more of the pills at all but may not know how to wean a person off these addictive drugs. This exact pattern has driven many people into an illicit, addictive lifestyle. Some people have turned to heroin when they could not get the pills they needed so desperately.
Or maybe the young person was prescribed some pain pills and then thought he’d see what all the talk about these drugs was about, so he crushed some and snorted them. If the high he got as a result appealed to him, he might burn through his prescription quickly. He’d then need more pills to prevent withdrawal sickness so he might resort to illicit means to get these drugs - or again, he might turn to heroin.