Young people are increasingly abusing prescription drugs because they view them as somehow safer than illegal drugs. HOWEVER, some prescription drugs are considered controlled substances, and their improper use and distribution is both illegal and dangerous. Intentional abuse of drugs such as pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers and sedatives is a growing concern.
Next to marijuana, the most common drugs teens use to get high are prescription drugs. They are often acquired for free from relatives or friends, stolen out of friends and families medicine cabinets, or bought from a friend or drug dealer on the street.
Prescription opioids such as Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone have a euphoric effect when taken. Prescription drug misuse may begin with inappropriate prescribing or lack of patient compliance with dosage regimens. Continued misuse can lead to abuse and dependence. No matter why people begin taking these medications, peer pressure, recreationally or because of an injury, once dependent upon them and without a prescription, they are very expensive to obtain illegally (generally $10 – $20 per pill and up to $80 a pill for higher milligrams).
That euphoric feeling people get from taking large amounts of prescription opioids is generally referred to as the same “high” attained from heroin.
Once a person has become addicted to that “high”, there isn’t much they won’t do to achieve – or surpass it.
That’s where the $5 – $10 cost of a bag of heroin draws in those chasing the high or suffering withdrawal from pain killers.
Rx abuse is a serious problem and if you believe someone is taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed or intended for them, you should intervene – BEFORE it’s too late!
Tips for Parents
What can you do as a parent?
- Educate yourself – know the Signs & Symptoms of prescription drug abuse
- Be more aware
- Keep medications in safe place
- Monitor your medications – use a Medicine Inventory Sheet
- Dispose of old or unused medications properly
- Spread the word – know what community resources you have available
- Spend time with your teen and get to know their friends and their friends’ parents
- Reinforce positive behaviors
- Be aware of online activity
- Most importantly – Talk to your Children! www.drugfree.org