Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing problems in the United States. The use and abuse of prescription pills has shaped up to be a deadly epidemic, and the number of deaths associated with prescription drug use continues to rise with each year.
While prescription drug abuse is a problem that impacts people of all ages, one of the most highly impacted groups falling prey to this disease is teens. Why are so many teens addicted to prescription drugs, and what may be done to stop the tide of this deadly epidemic?
Teens and Access to Prescription Drugs
One reason that so many teens may struggle with addiction is that they may have greater access to prescription drugs than any other type of controlled substance. Many teens may have parents who are prescribed drugs for legitimate conditions and who do not keep their drugs away from areas where teens may have access to them.
This makes drugs that are prescribed much easier to obtain than other drugs that may be purchased on the black market. That is not to say that a black market does not exist for prescription drugs. Many teens may purchase prescription drugs from other teens who obtain the drugs either from a doctor for legitimate use, or by taking them from a family or coworker.
Prescription Drugs May Carry Less of a Price for Teens
Many teens may have less money than their adult counterparts, which is another reason that prescription drugs may have quite an appeal for young adults. Prescription drugs, when sold on the black market, may cost far less than drugs that are always sold on the black market.
The reason for this may be that prescription drugs can be obtained at a very low cost or no cost at all, if they are stolen from a legitimate user or obtained through an insurance policy.
Misconception That Prescription Drugs Are Safer Than Illegal Drugs
Another reason that so may teens may face prescription drug addiction is that they may be operating under the incorrect assumption that prescription drugs are somehow safer than drugs that are sold on the black market. This is a misconception that may also lead many adults to be addicted to the dangerous drugs.
The reality is, of course, that illegally used prescription drugs can often be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than other types of drugs, especially when they are used improperly or by someone whom the prescription was not intended for. Prescription drugs can become extremely harmful when taken with other drugs such as alcohol, and can be incredibly addictive and put users at a very high risk for overdose.
What Can Be Done To Stop The Teen Prescription Drug Epidemic?
Most health experts and law enforcement agents agree that something must be done to lower the instances of teens who are addicted to and abusing prescription drugs. There are a number of ways in which the instances of teen drug epidemic may be curbed.
Many communities offer prescription drug disposal programs which parents who have prescriptions they have not used fully can dispose of unused drugs without worrying about them getting into the hands of their teens. It is also very important that parents talk to their teens about the dangers of prescription drugs and that they make it clear that in no way are prescription drugs a safe alternative to other drugs.
If a parent suspects that their teen is using prescription drugs, they should seek help immediately. Getting help early on can be the deciding factor in ensuring that a teen can recover from prescription drug addiction.