Prescription drug abuse in teens: What should parents do?

During teenage, adolescents regularly exhibit behavior which makes little sense to the mind of an adult. More often than not their rebellious conduct has lasting consequences on their physical and emotional well being. The growing trend among teens to abuse prescription medication is one such problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA, nearly 8% of the youth, aging between 13 to 17 years, admitted to using prescription drugs for non-clinical purposes.

According to Tim Chapman, the number of young adults admitted to rehab for treatment of prescription drug abuse has grown much larger than what it was five years ago. Chapman, who runs several treatment facilities in Orange, California, further stated that 40% of the teens admitted for treatment had developed an addiction to prescription drugs. While the debate goes on about the legalization of marijuanna use, this issue often goes ignored. 

Teens use prescription drugs to overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. Peer pressure causes them to do things which they would not do under normal circumstances; like taking prescription drugs for entertainment purposes. There is a misconception among many that because these medications are dispensed by the doctors, they are safer to use as compared to narcotics. Painkillers, depressants and sedatives like Oxycontin and Xanax, and stimulants like Adderall or Concerta are among the most commonly abused drugs, according to NIDA. One reason frequently cited for teen prescription drug abuse is that these drugs are easy to find in homes and drug stores. Timely parental intervention is crucial to curb prescription drug addiction in teens. Here’s what parents can do to counter this burgeoning problem:

Outpatient therapy

Outpatient therapy is offered to those who do not require hospitalization. Treatment can include psychological, physiological and post-surgical care. This treatment is a popular choice among parents because it allows them to save hospital costs. Also, this way their kids are able to get the required treatment in the comfort of their homes.

Inpatient Treatment

In case the child requires proper medical care, parents have the option of admitting them to an inpatient treatment center. Contrary to outpatient treatment, inpatient therapy requires the patient to be admitted in the hospital. This way his/her medical condition can be monitored and he/she can be provided proper treatment by healthcare professionals.

Tim Chapman further suggests some precautions for preventing this problem. According to him, parents should “lock up prescription medications, keep a drug test on hand to signal vigilance to their child and not be casual about their own prescription drug use”.

Prescription drug abuse is a rapidly growing problem that can easily be prevented by parents if only they use an extra bit of caution and give due attention to their kids.

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