The Rx Nation: Teens and Prescription Drug Abuse

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly one in five teens has used prescription drugs to get high, and one in ten high school seniors abused prescription drugs in the past year. They think prescription drugs are safer than street drugs, as they can buy them in drugstores or easily find them in their own homes. But these drugs are stronger than cocaine and heroin, and that’s when teens get into trouble.

None of us wants our kids using drugs. The problem is, teens are unlikely to understand how highly addictive these drugs are. After all, if they’re available over the counter, they can’t be that big a deal, right? If your kids think this way, then they will need your help.

When Painkillers Cause More Pain

According to the CDC, opioid painkillers now cause more lethal overdoses than heroin and cocaine. What’s more alarming is that the rate of fatal overdose among 15 to 24 year-olds has increased to 300 percent in recent years. Even legal prescription drugs have an unpredictable factor. Most of these drugs kick in slowly, then linger at full strength. By the time teens take a big dose, it’s not going to make them feel the way they want to feel. It’s going to stop their perspiration.

Painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, slow heart rate and breathing; and combining them unknowingly can stop breathing. Consuming drugs and drinking alcohol simultaneously also cause coma while they sleep.

From Apathy to Action

Teenagers use drugs for several reasons, such as peer pressure, relief from stress, boredom, and mental health problems. But lack of parental supervision is a risk factor that can increase the chance that your teen will abuse drugs.

Here are three things you can do today to protect your teens from drug addiction:

  • Make an inventory of your medicine cabinets, bureau tops, or anywhere you may store prescription drugs. Monitor the pill quantities and medicine levels in your containers if necessary.
  • Spend quality time with your children to ensure a close relationship and open lines of communication. Exposure to drugs can begin as early as age 12. Help them make good decisions, listen to their questions and answer their concerns without making it seem like you’re scolding them.
  • Sending your teen to DARA helps with drug treatment, including interventions, recovery, and rehabilitation. We’ll closely monitor any medications while your child gets help. With our intensive programs, your teen will be able to find his or her identity and start the way towards a healthier and better life.

You count on your children to do the right thing. They count on you to prepare them for the dangers awaiting them. Contact us to learn how we can help with your child’s drug abuse.

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