Posts Tagged teen prescription drugs
Another area discussed by a helpful document that we shared in a couple of previous posts, which provided information regarding prescription drug abuse among teenagers, is drug poisoning.
A number of statistics were shared in the document, all related to the condition of drug poisoning. One is that unintentional drug poisoning led to over seven hundred thousand visits to the emergency room. A quarter of these visits sometimes lead to hospitalization or to a transfer to another facility.
In addition, there has been an increase in the occurrence of accidental death due to drug poisoning, which increased 68.3 percent over a period of five years, between 1999 and 2004. This is according to a report provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Reuters Health. These incidents of drug poisoning, according to the document, are caused mainly by prescription drugs.
The CDC states further that drug poisoning follows motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in the United States. For a specific demographic – that of people who are aged 35 to 54 years old – drug poisoning even surpassed motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in the country. This is according to information provided by the Injury Center of the CDC.
All these statistics indicate that prescription drug abuse is a very real problem with dire consequences, and when left unchecked in teenagers, it can lead to the wasting away of a young life that would otherwise have reached greater heights.
In a previous post, we shared the existence of a guide regarding teenagers and prescription drug abuse, provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). One of the things discussed in the document is how teenagers abuse prescription drugs, and why they turn to it.
Data from a 2007 study called Monitoring the Future revealed that seven out of 11 drugs that were used by 12th graders to get high were medicines. Among them are cough medicines, inhalants, sedatives and tranquilizers.
In another report from 2007 entitled “Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America’s Colleges and Universities,” given by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, it was shown that the proportion of college students who abused prescription drugs increased between 1993 and 2005. The percentage of increase was rather significant: 450 percent for tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium; 343 percent for opioids such as Vicodin and OxyContin; 225 percent for sedatives such as Nembutal and Seconal; and 93 percent for stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall.
Experts who weighed in on the reasons for prescription drug abuse among teenagers shared several insights. Teenagers reportedly turn to prescription drug abuse as a means of escape, or simply because they felt that they had nothing better to do. They may also turn to abuse of medicines as they try to achieve that “ideal” physical appearance.
There are several reasons that are disheartening, however, not the least of which is the fact that some students abuse drugs in order to be more competitive in school, and in order to handle the pressure of combining school work and extra-curricular activities.
With its current wide scope and strong influence on people, many journalists, publishers and filmmakers have decided to discuss the very basic things that concern real people these days — love, war, money, sex and even drugs.
Charlie Bartlett is one of the recent movies that discussed the reality of teenage prescription drug abuse. It is a comedy-drama film that revolves around the character Charlie Bartlett, played by Anton Yelchin.
Charlie is a teen who came from a wealthy family yet attends a public school after being expelled from different private academic institutions. Other actors in the film are Robert Downey Jr. as Nathan Gardner, the school principal; Kat Dennings as Susan Gardner, Charlie’s love interest and the principal’s daughter; and Tyler Hilton as Murphey Bivens, the school bully. Nathan is an alcoholic, Susan smokes a lot and Murphey beats other students while an assistant films it. These characters have basically covered a lot of teen issues.
Charlie, as the new student in school, was initially unable to fit in. However, by acting as the students’ resident psychiatrist and supplying prescription drugs (with Murphey in charge of selling the drugs), he was able to gain influence in the community. He feigned symptoms during psychiatric sessions and was able to get prescriptions for several medications from different psychiatrists, a strategy also known these days as “doctor-shopping.”
Aside from prescription drug abuse, parent’s alcohol abuse, nicotine abuse and school bullying, the film also presents the issue of teen depression and suicide. One of the school’s students, Kip Crombwell, suffers from depression and attempts suicide by drinking the drugs Charlie has supplied. His depression was rooted on the need for acceptance and low self-esteem.
Some critics thought that the movie lack a clear train of thought, but others see it as a movie that embraced the many different pressures that teens face in their lives. The movie was released in 2007.
Teen prescription drug abusers, or what they call ‘Generation Rx’, are a growing in number. Drugs that are usually obtained only with a proper medical presciption are being abused by children as young as 12 years old. Here are some common prescription drugs that are abused by the youth:
These drugs are prescribed for patients who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), asthma, obesity and narcolepsy. The drugs function to counteract feelings of weakness usually caused by fatigue, stress or alcohol. These drugs enhance concentration, alertness and energy and are often mixed with alcohol, which makes it even more dangerous. Teens usually abuse these drugs during activities that may need an extra push, like long examinations or competitive games. Examples of stimulants are Ritalin, Dexedrine and Concerta.
Painkillers can be either opium or morphine (narcotic) derivatives. These are prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain. Marijuana is also known to be prescribed to those who are dealing with cancer, which is medically proven to help administer pain. Vicodin is one of those painkiller drugs which are very potent and addictive. Among the listed drugs that are addictive are: Codeine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Opium, Morphine and Fentanyl.
These drugs are usually prescribed to patients who suffer from tension, sleep disorders and panic attacks. Depending on the dose, depressants act as a form of anaesthetic. These are usually called sedatives or tranquilizers, whose primary function is to slow down brain activity. Common prescribed depressants are Valium, Klonopin, Soma, Xanax and Ambien.
Unfortunately, while you should need a medical prescription to obtain these drugs, teens can easily access them online without presenting anything from the doctor. There are also people actually peddling prescription drugs in some universities.