A growing number of teenagers are abusing prescription drugs under the pretenses that it is ok if a doctor prescribed them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for teens, they report that 7.7% of our youth ages 12-17 were abusing prescription pills in the past year. Many children were obtaining left over prescriptions from parents who did not finish there medication or get rid of it.
Every year there are 2000 teenagers who try prescription drugs yearly without being under the supervision or guidance of a doctor. (NIDA 2011) Differences have been documented between boys and girls who are using prescription medication. NIDA reports that boys have the tendency to use prescription drugs to get high, while girls will use prescription drugs to be more alert. Also reported was that the underlying issues related to addiction among teens was not being addressed.
Maureen Salamon, a contributor to My News Health Daily, documents an interview with a 24 year old who began abusing marijuana, alcohol and Adderall at age 13 and has been in and out of rehab a total of 19 times. For this young girl, Salamon reports, being abused by her father and her mother attempting to be her friend rather than a mom contributed to her abuse of prescription medications. “I honestly wish my mother would have disciplined me more, but she wanted to be more my friend than parent, because of what my dad did to me,” the young adult reports after reflecting on her teen drug abuse issues.
It may be wiser to educate our parents about prescription drug addiction and teen’s substance abuse to increase parental awareness about opportunities where prescription medication may be abused. In addition our teens may also have underlying issues similar to adults for reasons why they abuse prescription medications which should not be overlooked. A mandatory program in our schools for our parents about prescription abuse and addiction amongst our teens would help increase awareness and possibly help with prevention.