Archive for category Prescription Drug Abuse
The latest report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals both good and bad news in terms of substance use by teenagers.
According to the annual teen tracking report by the government agency, teenage use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin has dropped this year. “Probably that relates to very aggressive campaigns for prevention,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow in a news release.
In addition, the rate of teenage smoking using traditional cigarettes has also dropped significantly, as well as the rate of teenage binge drinking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about e-cigarette use. What’s troubling for the agency is that the dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been exposed completely. “One of the arguments has been that when you’re vaping nicotine you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette… The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production,” Volkow said.
Illicit use of Adderall and other similar prescription stimulant drugs is also on the rise, according to the NIDA study. “The problem of using stimulant medication to study for tests is that stimulant drugs are addictive and actually they can be highly addictive,” the NIDA director added.
It’s unfortunate to have a young person die from drug overdose before people listen to the warnings, but an anti-substance abuse advocate is using this recent incident to highlight the dangers of drug abuse.
Carolyn Anderson, who serves as executive director of the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force in Mississippi, has long urged the general population to be aware of the present situation on substance abuse. “Teens, parents, teachers and anyone in the community, you need to step up. Make them feel special. Make them feel love. Make them feel life is worth living, and push them towards their potential,” Anderson said in a news release, referring to teenage deaths associated with drug overdose.
The latest incident involved a teenage boy, age 13, who was declared dead due to overdose on opioids and benzodiazepine. “This is a horrible thing to think. Someone at 13 is gone because of an overdose,” said Anderson.
The agency director is a strong advocate of early intervention by people whom the teens look up to. “I want teens that are upset, depressed or being bullied. I want them to find an adult they can confide in, whether it’s a coach, teacher, Sunday school teacher… Talk to someone. Don’t experiment,” Anderson expressed. She also urges parents to use locked medicine boxes to prevent access by young kids. “Make sure it’s put away so they don’t find them,” she stated further.
Prescription drug abuse has become a hot topic as of late, with a string of fatalities and hospital admissions caused by this alarming issue. Worse, some medical professionals are not aware that they are issuing prescriptions for excessively strong medications.
According to ABC Australia, doctors in the country were able to issue more than 100,000 prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs to children in 2013. Queensland, one of the many states in Australia, pegged the highest rate in anti-psychotic drug prescriptions at 645 per 100,000 people. NSW and Victoria followed suit.
While some child cases were under the supervision of consenting parents, other children given overprescribed medicines were in foster homes. Majority of the anti-psychotic drugs were designed to treat psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but a growing trend is turning to these medicines to address autism and aggression in kids.
According to the news report, medical professionals are not united in the issue on prescribing anti-psychotic medication in children. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists allow this kind of medicine to be prescribed to kids for legitimate reasons, with psychosis being one of them. “Sometimes we do see kids who have aggressive and behaviour problems who’ve had a range of many other treatments and sometimes they do benefit from anti-psychotic treatment,” said Dr. Nick Kowalenko, college chair for child and adolescent psychiatry. However, Kowalenko emphasized that the drugs are not absolute substitutes to a “comprehensive treatment approach”.
Risperidone is the medicine most often prescribed by doctors to treat psychosis in Australia, with over 28,000 prescriptions issued in 2013 alone.
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Preventive measures and intervention programs to combat prescription drug abuse in teens may not be approaching the subject at the right perspective, according to a new study.
A joint research by proponents from New York’s Hunter College and Indiana’s Purdue University revealed that prescription drug abuse may be caused not by peer pressure but by peer association and influence.
Sociology and anthropology professor Brian Kelly, one of the study authors, said that peer pressure does not seem to be an aggravating factor for drug abuse in teens. “Rather, we found more subtle components of the peer context as influential. These include peer drug associations, peers as points of drug access, and the motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have pleasant times with friends,” Kelly said in a news release.
The study, which was presented at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Sociological, involved interview and survey of more than 600 people within 18 to 29 years of age who engaged in prescription drug misuse for the past 90 days.
Focus was directed towards three possible scenarios of drug abuse: frequency, alternative ways of administering the drug, and dependency symptoms. Kelly shared that peer influence leads people to all three situations. “The motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have a good time with friends is also associated with all three outcomes. The number of sources of drugs in their peer group also matters, which is notable since sharing prescription drugs is common among these young adults,” Kelly added.
The National Drug Take Back Day has been very successful in collecting tons of unused and expired medicines all around the U.S. The annual event has been conduced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 2010.
With the success of take-back initiatives such as the DEA-administered events, a number of counties in Indiana are now installing permanent drop-off boxes for prescription drugs that are either expired or unused. Marion County is the latest in a strong of Indiana localities that have supported the drive against prescription drug abuse.
The drop-off box in Marion County is jointly handled by Drug Free Indiana and the county’s Sheriff’s Department. “Drugs that are leftover… in medicine cabinets… our youngsters can get a hold of. When I’m talking youngsters, I mean toddlers and on up,” said Sheriff John Layton in a news release.
The move came after Indiana figured in the top five states with the highest deaths due to drug overdose.
The Marion County Jail serves as the location of the drop-off box in the said Indiana county. Other central counties in the state have already installed their own boxes.
The rising statistics of drug addiction in the country especially in Bay area heightened the attention of public health officials, law enforcers, and substance abuse specialists during their recent summit in San Francisco, California.
They blamed prescription drugs abuse as the forefront of the problems, which can lead to more heroin addiction on teens if they cannot regulate the issuance of drug prescription to teenagers and young adults.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the deaths of accidental overdose from prescribed medicine have bloated to more than quadruple since 1999. Meanwhile, Drugfree.org’s The Partnership CEO Steve Pasierb said that misuse of prescription drugs is the primary cause of overdose deaths and heroin addictions, as revealed in a news item.
More problems on young adults and teens are prevalent because they often believe that taking these pills are safe as they are legally advised by doctors. However, when they cannot find the medicine, they switch to illegal substances and get hooked to heroin instead.
The group is now in the first stage of tracking down doctors who are making profits from issuing prescriptions drugs to anyone. They are also coordinating with pharmacies to report any unusual prescription that they find suspicious and fraudulent.
District attorneys are calling all doctors to religiously use the statewide database to check the prescription history of the patient and participate closely in the drive to prevent the proliferation of abuse of prescription medication.