Teenage Prescription Abuse

In this Special Report, Siobhan Morse, Executive Director of The National Institute For Holistic Addiction Studies discusses teenage prescription abuse and teen drug addiction.

What is teenage prescription drug abuse?

Teenage prescription drug abuse is when a young person takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else, or takes their own prescription in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed.

Abuse can include taking a friend or relative’s prescription to get high, to treat pain, or because you think it will help with studying or losing weight.

What prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly abused by teens?

Opioids, such as the pain relievers Oxycontin and Vicodin are commonly abused.


Teenage Prescription Abuse

Central nervous system depressants such as Xanax and Valium, and stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall also are commonly abused.

These are the prescription drugs most commonly abused by teens.

Some drugs that are available without a prescription also known as over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous if they are not taken according to the directions on the packaging.

For example, DXM, the active ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough suppressants is sometimes abused, particularly by youth.

How many teens are abusing prescription drugs?

Among youth 12-17 years old, 7.7% reported the non-medical use of prescription medications in the past year. According the 2010 monitoring the future survey, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders after alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.

Youth who abuse prescription medications are also more likely to report use of other drugs.

Where do teens get prescriptions drugs?

Teens and young adults obtain the majority of prescription drugs from friends and relatives, and in one survey, 54% of high school seniors said that opioid drugs other than heroin, for example, Vicodin or Oxycontin would be fairly or very easy to get.

Why do teens abuse prescription drugs?

Teens abuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons including to get high, to treat pain, or because they think it will help them with school work. Interestingly, boys and girls tend to abuse some types of prescription drugs for different reasons.

For example, boys are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants to get high while girls tend to abuse them to stay alert or to lose weight.


Teenage Prescription Abuse

Teenage Prescription Abuse



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