With all the bad news that seems to be reported about problems with prescription drug abuse, one report has been good: teens are abusing prescription drugs less. A school survey done in 2012 in Kentucky reports that less teens are abusing prescription drugs. This is welcome news, because of the rise of prescription drug abuse that has been called an epidemic in some areas of the United States. Prescription drugs are often given to people who are recovering from surgery to deal with chronic pain. But sometimes, people end up getting addicted, and have to get treated for dependencies. Because prescription drugs are doled out by doctors there is a misconception that they are less dangerous than other illegal drugs like heroin and crack. But this is false, and prescription drugs can prove to be highly dangerous. Plus, people often take the prescription drugs in dangerous cocktails with alcohol, increasing the risk of a dangerous overdose.
Less Teens Have Been Abusing Prescription Drugs Since 2008
The numbers are astounding, and welcome news after the increasing number of reports of rising abuse of prescription drugs. But since 2008 teen abuse of prescription drugs has dropped from 15.2 percent to 9 percent. Over 100,000 students in Kentucky were asked to participate in a survey, which makes it a comprehensive and notable victory for those who are fighting to lower teen abuse of drugs.
Drug Education Programs Have Made A Significant Impact
Reportedly, the main contributing factor to less teens abusing prescription drugs is education about the dangers. The steps that have been taken to proactively educate the younger generations about the dangers of drugs have proven to be remarkably effective. This shows that young people are willing to listen when given the education and tools to make wise decisions for themselves about whether to abuse drugs. Law enforcement and health officials should be commended for the tireless amount of work they have done to bring education and knowledge to teens.
Stricter Prescription Drug Laws Have Also Made A Difference
The other major contributing factor to the decline in teen prescription drug use is the implementation of a new drug law. The new law is aimed specifically at people who abuse prescription drugs. The stricter laws are stopping the drugs from getting into the hands of people who will abuse them, and has proven to be very effective. With teens having less access to prescription drugs, they will automatically be less likely to abuse them.
Fears About Teens Using Other Illegal Drugs Appear To Be Unfounded
One fear that has cropped up over the decline in teen prescription drug abuse, is that there would be a rise in teens abusing other illicit street drugs. But fortunately, these fears have proven to be unfounded - there is no statistical evidence to support teen drug use rising in any other areas. This could perhaps be attributed to education teens have received over the dangers of drugs. Given the right information, teens are able to see how drugs can destroy someone’s future and health. Armed with knowledge, they realize that they don’t want to settle for the life of someone addicted to drugs. Young people should also be given a massive amount of credit for being able to abstain from self-destructive behavior.
Positive Hope For The Future
Other states should look at Kentucky as a blueprint as how to successfully lower the amount of prescription drug abuse amongst teens. They have found a formula that has yielded a dramatic rate of success. Educational initiatives about the dangers of prescription drugs, a long with stricter laws, have almost cut the number of teens who abuse prescription drugs in half.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.