Prescription Pill Abuse and Teens

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What is prescription drug abuse?

The use of prescription medication to create an altered state, to get high, or for reasons — or by people — other than those intended by the prescribing doctor.

How many teens are doing this?

According to research conducted by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (as well as other reputable national studies) as many as one in five teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it themselves. This behavior cuts across geographic, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries.

Why are some teens doing this?

For a variety of reasons. To party and get high, in some cases, but also to “manage” or “regulate” their lives. They’re abusing some stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall to give them additional energy and ability to focus when they’re studying or taking tests. They’re abusing pain relievers like OxyContin and tranquilizers such as Xanax to cope with academic, social or emotional stress. They’re abusing prescription amphetamines to lose weight, or prescription steroids to bulk up.

What are the risks?

There are both acute (immediate) and longer term risks. In the short term, overdosing (especially on prescription pain relievers) can be fatal, as can mixing prescription drugs with over-the-counter medication and/or alcohol. In the longer term, prescription opioids (pain relievers) and other prescription medicines are potentially addictive. Coming to rely at a young age on prescription medicine (or any drug) to “manage” your life risks establishing a learned, lifelong pattern of dependency and limitation and prevents learning coping skills.

Where are teens getting these prescription drugs?

The vast majority of teens abusing prescription drugs are getting them from the medicine cabinets of friends, family and acquaintances. Some teens traffic among themselves – handing out or selling “extra” pills of their own, or pills they’ve acquired or stolen from classmates. A very small minority of teens say they get their prescription drugs illicitly from doctors, pharmacists or over the internet.

Are parents educating their children about the risks of this behavior?

Research conducted by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids shows that parents are not communicating the risks of prescription drug abuse to their children as often as they talk about illegal drugs. This is partly because some parents are unaware of the behavior (it wasn’t as prevalent when they were teenagers), and partly because those who are aware of teen abuse of medicine tend to underestimate the risks just as teens do. Finally, a recent study by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids showed that 28% of parents have themselves taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it themselves. This is not necessarily abuse, but it sets a dangerous example for kids – that the recommended dosage of prescriptions need not be strictly followed.

What should parents do?

  1. Educate yourselves – drugfree.org has lots of support, tools, resources and answers.
  2. Communicate the risks of prescription drug abuse to your kids. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs are up to 50% less likely to use drugs.
  3. Safeguard your own medicines. Keep prescription medicine in a secure place, count and monitor the number of pills you have.

 

 

Substance Abuse And Our Young People

Substance Abuse YouthThere was a time in cinematic history where virtually every actor/actress was portrayed on screen with a cigarette in hand. Smoking, it was implied, was cool. As a result everyone was doing it, including kids. Well, as awareness to the danger of smoking increased, “cool” images of smoking disappeared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about drugs and alcohol. These vices are staples in everyday media. Simply, drinking and using drugs is shown as being cool.

The numbers bear the tale. 21% of high school seniors say they get high and 41% of the same group report drinking alcohol. Our kids are literally moving around in an intoxicated daze. Immature behavior is then amplified due to being under the influence, drunk driving, poor grades and attendance, anti-social and violent behavior and the list goes on.

There is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people.  Nationwide, alcohol and drugs affect each and every one of us, directly or indirectly:  in our homes, in our families, in our school, in our dorm, in our community, town or city.

More than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions more people — parents, family members, friends and neighbors.  For some, one time or infrequent use of alcohol or drugs can result in tragedy: alcohol overdose (alcohol poisoning), an accident or fall when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or an arrest associated with alcohol or drugs that may cost you your reputation and/or your freedom. For others, even though they may not use alcohol or drugs, they could become a victim of an alcohol or drug-related crime. And, for yet others, what may have started as occasional use can turn into an addiction that presents extraordinary health concerns with potentially grave and tragic consequences.

The age of first use has tremendous consequences. Using alcohol and drugs before the brain has fully developed increases your risk for future addiction to alcohol and drugs dramatically. Young people who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than people who first used alcohol at age 21 or older. Research for drug use and drug addiction has found similar results.

Family history plays a huge role in addiction . Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment: peers, family, and availability. But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics. Plain and simple, people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.  If you have a family history of alcoholism or addiction, you are four times more likely to develop a problem.

The bottom line is no one has ever won the game against alcohol and drugs. It always wins. Whether you recover or not, the damage has been done to yourself, your family, and friends. The best advice, stay away from it.

 

 

 

Take Responsibility for Everything

imagesTake responsibility for everything. Yes, I do mean absolutely everything, whether something is your fault or not.

Taking responsibility for everything that life throws your way is a key character trait that distinguishes the most successful people from the rest. However, even if success isn’t a huge priority for you, you can still derive incredible value from taking responsibility.

Taking responsibility for your life and circumstances is incredibly empowering. It’s empowering because it’s a measure of your courage, of your selfconfidence, self-worth and of your mental strength, toughness and resilience.

To take responsibility is empowering because it provides you with a sense of control over your life. In essence it gives you greater self-assurance that you will eventually get the outcome you are after.

To take responsibility is empowering because it encourages solution-based thinking that can lead to a plethora of creative ideas to help you solve your problems more effectively. In other words, it empowers you to take an active role in solving your life’s problems, which earns you an incredible amount of respect in the eyes of others.

Now of course taking responsibility doesn’t mean you are weak or powerless and therefore you blame yourself for everything. This isn’t about blame. This is rather about responsibility. There is a big difference.

Blaming yourself comes from a position of weakness. It comes from a victimized mentality that doesn’t have any control over life or circumstances. To take responsibility means to take ownership of the situation. It means fully accepting how things are and committing yourself to making things right. That’s what taking responsibility is all about.