Teenage drug use is typically associated with the use of marijuana and alcohol. However, teenagers can take advantage of chance and opportunity and they may abuse other drugs.  Abuse and recreational use of prescription medication is a growing trend among teens and adults.  
     
     Many different types of pharmaceutical drugs are used by teenagers to get high. Many teenagers and adults believe these drugs are less dangerous because they can be prescribed by a doctor. A recent study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that more teenagers are choosing to use pharmaceutical drugs, which are replacing other illicit drugs as the drug of choice after marijuana. The graph below illustrates this trend.


     More disturbing is the fact that adults aren’t seeing the risks of taking illegal prescription drugs. Psychiatrist David Sack recently wrote an article which referred to an April 2012 study conducted by The Partnership at DrugFree.org. The study found one third of teenagers surveyed did not see a problem with using medication that was not specifically prescribed to them.  The study also questioned adults and found that 16% of adults said prescription drugs were safer than illicit street drugs. Almost one third of adults believed Ritalin and Adderall can boost children’s academic performance even if the drugs were not prescribed for the child.  These attitudes are particularly dangerous because prescription painkillers caused more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

     The CDC has credited painkillers with more than 14,000 overdose deaths in 2008, making prescription drug use a rapidly growing but underestimated problem.  Easy access to prescription drugs, lax attitudes towards improper use, and the belief that pharmaceutical drugs are safe to take has greatly increased the use of prescription medication as a recreational drug over time.  Education and awareness of the risk and dangers of prescription drug abuse can help many parents avoid an unexpected addiction.  At Inspirations for Youth and Families, we are prepared to treat all teenagers with prescription drug addiction. Those who are addicted to should never quit prescription drugs “cold turkey”, because the side effects can be very severe. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, call us at (888) 757-6237 to speak to one of our trained counselors about getting help.