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Teens and RX Substance Abuse

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by Nick W., Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I wanted to provide some information regarding teens and prescription drug abuse. There is a ton of information out there, and I wanted to condense some of it to share with the group. This of course is not comprehensive, and just an overview.

    RX substance abuse is when you take a medication that was not prescribed to you, or taken for reasons other than it's practical and intended use. The following info-graphic will show you that abuse of pharmaceutical drugs plays a large role in the overall statistics, more so than some specific "street drugs".


    After marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans age 14 and older. This startling statistic is particularly alarming when you factor in that recent studies have shown that most teens get their prescription drugs from people they know, including family members & friends.

    Which Drugs Are Abused?
    The most commonly used prescription drugs fall into three classes:

    1. Opioids

    • Examples: oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and meperidine (Demerol)
    • Medical uses: Opioids are used to treat pain or relieve coughs or diarrhea.
    • How they work: Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord), preventing the brain from receiving pain messages.
    2. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

    • Examples: pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax)
    • Medical uses: CNS depressants are used to treat anxiety, tension, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.
    • How they work: CNS depressants slow down brain activity by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA. The result is a drowsy or calming effect.
    3. Stimulants

    • Examples: methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
    • Medical uses: Stimulants can be used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD.
    • How they work: Stimulants increase brain activity, resulting in greater alertness, attention, and energy.
    Gelsemium likes this.
  2. Allen24

    Allen24 Active Contributor

    When I was in high school none of my friends abused drugs but I know of others at my school who did. I think kids get them because they are easier to get ahold of than alcohol most of the time. It is important to keep the temptation in check by securing your drugs that could possibly be abused.
  3. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    This is why I think it's important that medication, particularly given at school, needs to go through the proper channels. Parents that simply send their kids to school with a bottle of pills are asking for trouble. It takes 5 extra minutes to make sure the school nurse is familiar with the situation and hands out the medication accordingly.
  4. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Almost 40% is marijuana, it's an interesting information and in fact I recall that when I was a student a lot of people were consuming, but many times this is a stepping stone to harder drugs.
  5. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    It's incredibly easy for people to get prescription drugs now. So many people are prescribed medication for various health conditions. I know there are plenty of kids with ADD/ADHD who are prescribed medication but DON"T want to take it because of the side effects they experience, so they sell it instead. I don't think young people realize how dangerous it is to abuse meds, maybe because they are not well educated on the subject, or maybe because they don't care.
    Nick W. likes this.
  6. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    The scary thing is, these kids think that the risks are minimal because they are "real drugs" that doctors hand out, not "street drugs" but both can be highly addictive, and can be so harmful to your health. I've noticed a lot of kids seem to be prescribed painkillers these days, maybe it's my imagination, but I don't remember EVER having them as a kid/teen.
  7. frogsandlegos

    frogsandlegos Active Contributor

    I agree that there needs to be protocol /system in place to make sure prescription drugs do not end up in a teen's hands. I think that all adults - whether they have kids or not - should be reminded to keep the medicine in a safe place and never make it accessible to teens or children. Even if they don't have kids, a niece/nephew/friend's kid/burglar could access them. They should avoid carrying around a whole bottle in a purse, etc.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Not sure about avoiding carrying around a whole bottle.... in many places having pills that are not in a labeled RX bottle will get you detained.
  9. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Teen can steal, that happens all the time, so it's really something hard to control. On the other hand, how frequent is that control happening? How frequent does the detention of teens happen for having such substances? Only a small percentage of the time I'd say no?
  10. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    If you have a legitimate RX for something, you are usually taking it regularly, so I'm not sure why it would be hard to simply make sure the right amount of pills are in the bottle. I mean, we can't think of scenarios for every single thing that "might" happen. Personal responsibility needs to come into play here too, right?
  11. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Sure, if we have a prescription we are legal, the issue is taking medicines without prescriptions, that usually happens when theft is involved, usually from the parents.
  12. allswl

    allswl Member

    The question is why these kids feel the need to be taking Rx drugs. I have always been concerned about amount of hiding prescription drug by parents or whomever they are made out to will prevent these kids from getting their hands on them. Some have even resorted to stealing them from drug stores.
  13. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Is that really a question? I mean, it's the same answer as why anyone takes any drug that's not specifically prescribed for them. Not just teens, but people, use drugs for many of the same reasons, regardless of age. I don't think that you can ever 100% prevent kids from abusing RX drugs, but I do believe that parents keeping an eye out on their pills, and monitoring them, can reduce the risk. Not all kids are master criminals.

    I think that those that are stealing from drug stores, those that are robbing stores, and not just stealing Robo or whatever, probably have some serious addiction issues so far.
  14. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    People take drugs because they want to get high, so they grab anything. I even removed the filter from the cigarettes from my dad do feel a little dizzy when I started in my bad way.
  15. Strykstar

    Strykstar Active Contributor

    That's right, people do drugs because they want to get high, it's as simple as that.
    They see their friends doing them and telling how great they feel, it's no wonder kids get started on drugs, it's up to the parents to make the realize that drugs have a lifetime of troubles associated with that short time of feeling great.
  16. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    The issue lies exactly there Strykstar, most of the times parents don't even realize that teens are taking drugs and when they do realize they don't talk open, they just punish, hardly the best thing to do.
  17. Strykstar

    Strykstar Active Contributor

    That's true Gelsemium, they need to not just be punished, but parents need to talk with the children for them to understand WHY they shouldn't take drugs.
    But I guess some parents just take the easier route, sadly that ends up reflecting poorly on the kids when they grow up...
  18. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    There is no easy route on parenting because it's a hard job, but we can make the effort to be close to our kids and guide them instead of making believe that everything is ok.
  19. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    ...but I wouldn't count out punishment. The real world has consequences, and so should teens. Of course I agree that their needs to be open communication & understanding between parents/kids, but consequences exist for a reason, and no kid should be taught that they are living a consequences free life. That is just going to ensure that nobody takes personal responsibility for anything anymore.
  20. SamClemensMT

    SamClemensMT Member

    I would say that parents need to safe guard their medications, so that kids can't find them. I mean if your're leaving pills in the medicine cabinet of a bathroom which the family shares, what do you expect. Don't risk it. Store your medications in a hidden place. at least make it difficult for the kids to access.