Teenage Prescription Drug Abuse

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Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing sector of illegal drug use in the United States. Over the course of a few years, the National Institutes of Health estimated that over twenty percent of people have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Among these people, teenagers from ages 12 to 17 are the most frequent abusers. Today the number of teenagers who abuse prescription drugs is alarmingly high. “On average, 6,027 teens use prescription drugs every day to get high for the first time” (DEA). Adolescents abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug, except for marijuana. Even though the overall drug use among teens has decreased nationwide over the years, the new issue that is on the rise is teenage use of prescription…show more content…
Painkillers, depressants, and stimulants are the medications most frequently prescribed, and consequently the most frequently abused. “Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to 45 million, and opioid painkillers increased from about 30 million to 180 million” (NIDA, 2011). The only possible explanations for these increasing numbers are that either incidence rates for certain medical conditions are rising, or prescription drug addictions are growing. Over the course of 9 years prescription drugs have been becoming easily available among millions of people in the United States. Therefore teenagers have been able to easily access these drugs because of the large amounts that are already prescribed to patients. The doctor’s job is to prescribe medication to patients, but only when the patient is in medical need and there are no signs of past drug abuse. It is unnecessary for prescription amounts to be expanding dramatically. It is evident that there is a lack of government regulation in this area, and must be improved in order to ultimately decrease the prescription drug abuse in the United States, especially among…show more content…
In 2010 according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “three quarters (75.9 percent) of youths aged 12 to 17 reported having seen or heard drug or alcohol prevention messages from sources outside of school, lower than in 2002 (83.2 percent). The percentage of school-enrolled youths reporting that they had seen or heard prevention messages at school also declined during this period, from 78.8 to 75.4 percent” (SAMHSA, 2011). This shows that there is a dramatic decrease in the amount of teenagers who receive preventive services either at home or in school. In recent years teens were provided with information mainly focusing on the dangers of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, and steroids and rarely on drugs that are widespread within the proximity of adolescents. Schools and parents do not emphasize enough that the abuse of prescription drugs produces the same destructive and dangerous effects as those that are illegal. Parents are in a position where they can dramatically reduce teen access to prescription drugs because these substances are mostly found in the home. There are so many way schools and parents can prevent the abuse of prescription drugs among teens, but they are unaware and underestimate their

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