Prescription drug abuse is sweeping the nation. It affects people from all walks of life and this epidemic is growing. A study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control showed that visits to the ER that were related to the misuse of prescription pain relievers more than double between 2004 and 2008. Unfortunately, teens make up a great portion of this number.
In fact, a recent survey taken by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that 6,000 Americans a day begin to abuse prescription drugs. More than 1/3 of these new abusers are under the age of 18.
Many people believe that prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs because doctors prescribe them. This may be a reason why kids try them in the first place. Another reason is that they are fairly easy to get a hold of, as they are commonly found in most people’s homes in America.
Abuse of Prescription Drugs May Lead to Heroin Use
Many heroin addicts have reported that they turned to heroin when the prescription painkillers became too expensive to support their habit. As with all drugs, a tolerance begins to build over time with frequent use and the addict has to take more and more of the drug to feel the desired effects. This can become very expensive with prescription drugs. Someone addicted to prescription painkillers may need to take around six or seven pills per day in order to keep their high. Surprisingly, this same amount of pills can be sold for a gram of heroin, which can supply an addict with a high for three to four days.
A recent change in the formula of the painkiller Oxycontin leaves the pills crush-proof, and therefore difficult for abusers to snort or inject. This also has many painkiller addicts turning to heroin, as the pills are no longer an option. In fact, a study of more than 2,500 people with opioid dependence found a 17 percent drop in Oxycontin abuse with the 2010 arrival of the new formula. During the same time period, heroin abuse doubled. This may seem a bit radical for a teen to become involved in, but it is a very real possibility in the future if he stays down this road.
Why Teens Make Up Such A Large Percentage
Kids are often confronted by many challenges during their teenage years. These challenges may include problems at home, social acceptance and peer pressure. Peer pressure may take place at school as well as in their own homes by way of the Internet. Digital peer pressure is something that is sweeping the nation and affecting teens tremendously.
With the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, there is an overload of photos and conversations based with partying and hooking up being the main topic. By talking with your teens about these topics and keeping them busy with extracurricular activities, they may pass on the drugs for a more promising future.