During last week’s National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando, experts warned that kids today don’t have any idea that prescription drugs could be dangerous. Most kids say that millions like them are given painkillers after a visit to the dentist or for injuries, and adults at home take them too, which is why they must be safe.
Gil Kerlikowske who heads President Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy is alarmed about the whole situation. “Young people are just naive,” said the official.
At the summit, topics about addiction, overdoses, and strip mall pill mills were highlighted, and the fact that kids are not scared of prescribed medications made experts and participants worry about this generation of kids.
In last year’s report from the annual Monitoring the Future youth substance abuse survey, there were eight types of prescription drugs which made it to the top 22 substances teens get hooked on. Most of them are painkillers that can be easily accessed with the right prescriptions, either personal or from other members of the family.
According to teens, painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet give them the high, yet these substances remain undetected by their parents. Students Against Drunk Driving Orlando High chapter president Destiny Ramos described the experience of painkiller abuse. “It’s like getting drunk. It’s all for the high.”
In the latest National Institute of Health report, approximately 12% of all opioid prescriptions (estimated to be around 9.3 million) are done for patients between 10 to 29 years old.
These drugs are almost identical to heroin as far as chemical structure is concerned, and unfortunately, most kids who start experimenting with prescription drugs often become heroin addicts by the time they become young adults.
Drug Enforcement Administration deputy assistant administrator Joseph Rannazzisi said that if parents continue to disregard the problem, more and more children will suffer. “We’re going to lose a whole generation of kids to heroin.”