Drug abuse among teens looks different than it did a few years ago. Teens aren’t abusing drugs these days just to get a high. Some are abusing them to focus and get better grades, lose weight or improve their perform in sports. Drug abuse has grown more complex over the last few decades, but remains just as dangerous.
Curiosity and a false sense of security are getting teens hooked on drugs. Teens today don’t have to hang out on the streets looking for drug dealers. Drugs can be found in the high school hallway. Over 70 percent of teens get them from their parents’ medicine cabinets, from their own prescription bottles, or from friends. Others can get them from stores and Internet sites. It’s easy access.
While marijuana is still the most abused drug by teens, multiple prescription drugs come in second. Some teens abuse their own prescription drugs, but two-thirds of teens abuse those that are meant for someone else. This abuse is becoming deadly. Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 91 percent increase in teen prescription drug overdose deaths.
The following are some of the most-abused prescription drugs today:
- OxyContin — This pain reliever contains Oxycodone, a powerful opioid for relieving chronic pain. It is twice as potent as morphine. Substance abuse specialist Teens are also abusing coming in for Suboxone abuse, too. Suboxone is a newer drug that is supposed to help wean people off of opioids.
- Vicodin — Vicodin is another pain reliever that can cause addiction.
- Adderall –This drug is used to help those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) improve their focus. Some teens have found that even if they do not have ADHD, they can use this drug to help them focus on academics and study more efficiently. However, it comes with a dangerous price. Adderall abuse can cause sleeplessness, paranoia, anxiety, and even heart failure and death. Others take Adderall as a weight loss pill, but it can dangerously cut the appetite so much that a person loses nutrition and becomes unhealthy after weight loss.
- Valium- This benzodiazepine can help someone with anxiety relax and is used to help reduce panic attacks, but some teens that have become dependent on it have suffered severe seizures when they have suddenly stopped taking it.
- Xanax- Abuse of this benzodiazepine can cause dependency and risk overdose
A New Age of Abuse, a New Age of Prevention
Preventing teen drug abuse in 2013 has to have some different strategies than it did 20 years ago. The drugs aren’t just outside the home anymore. Prescriptions from the home medicine cabinet might be the most dangerous drugs on the street.