Prescription Drugs on the Rise with Teens

Parents are usually taught to educate their children regarding the dangers of street drugs such as heroin and meth. However, a new type of drug epidemic exists that has harmful substances within arm’s reach. In fact, the prescription drugs in your own medicine cabinet may top the list as the most unsuspecting but dangerous threat to your child’s health today.

Students in junior high may be the most vulnerable, per data released from a study conducted at Michigan State University. Researchers analyzed four years of data from the National Survey on Drug Use (from 2004 to 2008).

Specifically of interest were prescription drug abuse responses provided by adolescents and young adults ranging in age from 12 to 21. They found that for every 60 individuals surveyed, one had misused prescription drugs and many were only about 16 years old when they started.

Findings indicate that kids are messing around with prescription meds much earlier than originally believed. Prescription drugs don’t often carry the same sort of stigma that street drugs do, but CDC reports show that popular painkiller, OxyContin, causes more overdoses than both heroin and cocaine together.

As more and more kids are abusing prescription drugs and drug cocktails, it is imperative to educate regarding the risks of such experimentation, and investigators are saying the sooner the better. Prescription medications are quickly becoming the drug type of choice because of ease of access as most people have a variety of old medications lying around at any given time.

Middle school is an impressionable time of great change and coming of self. Some experts recommend advising kids as young as second and third grade regarding the dangers of prescription drugs as a means of prevention.

Prospective educational programs would focus on building self-esteem as well as detailing the risks of using any form of drug, illegal or not. Authorities on the subject also underscore the importance of honest communication between parents and their children.