Prescription Drug Abuse Among Young Adults on The Rise

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Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, according to a recent news article. Surprisingly, the prescription drug addict is getting younger. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly eight percent of children ages 12 to 17 are taking prescription drugs for uses other than their intended purpose.

In the past five years, Tim Chapman has seen more and more adolescents and young adults come through his doors at a California treatment facility. Nearly 40 percent of individuals receiving rehab are doing so because of their addiction to prescription drugs, Chapman says.

But why are so many young people getting hooked on prescription drugs? Many are just trying to get by and cope with the many difficulties with their peers at school to abuse at home.

Chapman says that because the prescription drugs are so readily prescribed by physicians, children are getting their hands on them with little difficulty. The kids are also raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets.

There are some simple steps parents can take to prevent the problem. Locking up prescription drugs, discarding unused or expired drugs and talking to children can be very effective.

Painkillers, sedatives and depressants are the most abused prescription drugs, according to the NIDA. The biggest problem is the accessibility of these drugs. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that in 2010 there were enough prescription drugs prescribed to treat every adult for an entire month.

The potential for addiction is underestimated, too, if they aren’t stealing the drugs their being prescribed to them. Dr. Bruce Goldman says that young people are often prescribed painkillers in relation to sports injuries.

The director of Substance Abuse Services at Zucker Hillside Hospital of the North Shore Health System believes it’s easy to develop a tolerance and become addicted. It can all happen very fast.

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