Category Archives: Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drugs Are DANGEROUS

You’re hanging out with your friends at your house, and your parents are gone. You’re bored. You guys wanna do something kinda different and fun, a little rebellious. You can’t get any alcohol because you aren’t 21, and you don’t know anyone who is that would buy you some. Weed is pretty hard to get a hold of if you don’t know any dealers. But, you could always go through your parents medicine cabinet… There’s definitely something in there that can get you high.

That’s how easy it is, and that’s why so many teens take prescription drugs.

Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else and/or uses it for something other than what the doctor intended it for. So, like taking pills that are supposed to be for your mom, or taking Adderall to help you get through a late night study session.

After marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Teens get it from friends and relatives, and most of the time they steal it.

A lot of people use prescription drugs to get high because they believe them to be safer than street drugs. They figure that if doctors give them to people, they must not be bad and do any harm. But the reality is that they are VERY DANGEROUS if taken in the wrong way. When doctors prescribe medicine, they consider all kinds of things like how healthy the person is, their height and weight, how old they are, how much they should take, how often they should take it, what other health issues the person may have, and all kinds of things. You can’t just take a random amount of some random medicine and expect that to be okay for your body.

So what exactly are the effects of taking prescription drugs?

  • Sleepyness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paranoia
  • High body temperature
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Changes in your mood, perceptions, and behavior
  • Death

People also take prescription drugs to commit suicide. So, it’s pretty scary that if you take it to get high, you could accidentally take too much and it could kill you.

There are different types of prescription drugs that teens take for different reasons. Opiois, like Vicodin and Oxycontin, are painkillers. Depressants, like Valium and Xanax, are used to help you sleep or relieve anxiety. Stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin, help people with ADHD focus. Or, you could take any of these to feel high. People even take too much cough and cold medicine to get high.

Think about it. Taking these drugs is so, so scary. You really don’t know what it could do to you… it’s so easy to overdose with these. Also, it’s illegal. Do you really want to throw your future away and get in trouble with the law? Just for a “high” feeling that won’t even last that long? Is it really worth it?

These drugs are also super addicting. People don’t think they’re as addicting as street drugs, but they are.

If you’re taking prescription drugs, you need to stop. You might even need to get help. If you or a friend have a problem with prescription drug abuse, tell a trusted adult like a parent, teacher, coach, or counselor. You can also called 1-800-662-HELP or 1-888-4-AL-ANON, and they’ll tell you what steps to take to get over your addiction. Take action and make a change before it’s too late.

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Teen Suicide: There is Always Hope

Have you ever known someone who committed or attempted suicide? It sucks. Some people feel so overwhelmingly hopeless that they don’t know what to do other than ending their life. That level of pain and misery is hard for a lot of people to imagine, but some people have such a hard time getting through each day that they just can’t do it anymore. And once everyone finally knows how they really felt and what it caused them to do, we’re all left here wondering, “Why didn’t I do something? Why wasn’t I there for them? What could I have done to save them? Is it my fault?”

When a friend or family member does commit suicide, don’t ever blame yourself. It isn’t your fault. It’s natural to have those thoughts and feel guilty, but really, you cannot blame yourself. When people think about killing themselves, it isn’t because of one or two things that happened, or even because of one or two people; it’s always very complex. There’s a lot going on in their lives, and it all adds up to the point where they choose to end it. So if you feel like it’s something you did or didn’t do, don’t put that kind of blame on yourself, because there probably was a lot more to it than you know.

Teen suicide is becoming a huge problem. In the United States, suicide is currently the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. When people commit suicide, they attempt it approximately 25 times before they are “successful.” Most suicides are committed with guns, many are committed by overdosing.

What is going on? Why are people doing this?

Being a teenager can be a strange time in a person’s life. You’re awkwardly in the middle of being a child and being an adult. It can be a time of tremendous hope and possibility, but also a time of great stress, pressure, and confusion. Dealing with people at school can be rough, being pressured by society sucks, and it seems like everyone expects you to figure out you’re whole life right now: Are your grades good enough? What sports will you play? Where are you going to go to college? What are you going to major in? What job do you want for the rest of your life? Does that job make enough money to support your family? When will you get married?

The list goes on and on and on….

It’s a rough time for everybody, but some people seem to have rougher circumstances than others. There are many factors that put teenagers at risk for thinking about suicide, here are some of them:

  • mental health problems: anxiety, depression, bipolar, insomnia
  • going through major life changes: parents’ divorce or separation, moving, parents in the military, financial changes, victims of bullying
  • alcohol/drug use
  • feelings of distress, irritability, agitation
  • feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • previous suicide attempts
  • family history of depression, suicide
  • victims of emotional, physical, sexual abuse
  • lack of support network, poor relationships with parents and/or peers, social isolation
  • dealing with bisexuality or homosexuality in an unsupportive or hostile environment

When people are planning on killing themselves, they almost always give the people around them warning signs. Sometimes, tragically, people see their cries for help as them “wanting attention.” If you think someone might be hinting that they’re going to attempt suicide, you must take it seriously. Don’t hesitate to get help, because what if they’re serious?

Some warning signs are:

  • talking about suicide or death
  • giving hints that they might not be around anymore
  • talking about feeling hopeless/guilty
  • pulling away from friends and family
  • writing songs, poems, and letters about death and loss
  • giving away their things
  • loss of desire to take part in their favorite things and activities
  • changes in personality/behavior
  • fatigue/loss of energy
  • neglect of appearance/hygiene
  • sadness/indifference
  • aggressive, destructive, or defiant behavior
  • poor school performance
  • engaging in risk-taking behaviors
  • having trouble concentrating/thinking clearly

If you suspect that a friend is having suicidal thoughts, make sure to express your concern, support, and love to them. Knowing that someone cares and someone wants to help will give them hope. Tell a trusted adult who is close with your friend, like a parent, another relative, coach, counselor, or teacher, and ask them to talk to them. Another important thing you should do, even though it might be awkward, but you need to ask questions. Ask how they’re feeling, if they’re going through anything, if they need help. Ask them if they’ve been thinking about killing themselves. Just bring it up. They may hesitate at first, but if they say yes, get help immediately and let them know how much you and so many other people care about them. If you need to take drastic measures, you can tell a doctor who can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

If YOU are feeling suicidal, tell someone. It may not seem like it, but so many people do care about you: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, classmates, teammates, coworkers, teachers, counselors, neighbors. Make sure someone knows how you’re feeling so they can help you. If you feel uncomfortable talking to somebody, you can always call 1-(800)-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK for help, too.

Nobody should ever feel hopeless, because there is always hope.

Small Choices Lead to Bigger Outcomes

Even though you are young now doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of yourself until you are older. More often than not you will find an older adult say that if they hadn’t done such and such at a young age they would be much better now. This is actually very true and should be thought about. Taking care of yourself isn’t just a fad, it is a lifelong decision and even though you may not be able to see the reasons right now, you will later in life.

For instance, eating healthy now and regularly exercising will help you not need hip replacements when you are in your 60s.  Just look at that old lady who bleaches her hair, tans constantly, and smokes…what does she look like now? She has thinning hair, leathery skin, and has smoker’s lung.  Do you want to look like that someday, too? If something seems harmless now can give you cancer eventually, then even small, positive changes can have a drastic effect.

Youth Outreach does not promote anything that is illegal, but, before you light up, pay for that tanning pass, take that shot of alcohol, or snort crack, think about what you are doing to the future you. If you still don’t believe me, start making those small decisions in your life, for the positive of course, and see the big results you get.

Are You Addicted?

There are so many things that you can get addicted to these days. Some you have to worry about more than others, such as using prescription drugs whether they are over the counter or prescribed by your healthcare provider. Prescription drugs are very helpful for pain or certain bodily dysfunctions, but can easily be abused. If you are concerned that someone you know or you are addicted to prescription drugs, then follow the steps below or check out this link to get more information.

If you feel you are addicted:

1) Call 800.662.HELP (4357) to find a treatment center

2) Talk to your doctor right away

3) Talk to a friend or family member who will help support you that you trust

4) Find a support group

If you are a parent and you think your child is abusing prescription drugs:

1) Talk to your child and ask them point-blank

2) Look for signs and symptoms of drug use

3) Look for risk factors, such as family addiction or friends that use

4) If they are using drugs, get them in a support group or a treatment center

Also know that addiction isn’t about your willpower or a moral failure. It is actually a disease and some people are more vulnerable to it, meaning that they have a genetic disposition that makes them more likely to become addicted to something than someone who doesn’t have that genetic makeup.

Don’t ever take a tablet of anything unless you know what it is and if it is prescribed to you. There are many side effects to different drugs and if you take something offered to you it may counteract other prescriptions or vitamins you are on and negatively affect you. In addition, don’t ever combine prescription drugs and alcohol because it decreases your heart rate and breathing and could cause death.

Driving Safely as a Teen

It seems that many teens these days are waiting to get their driver’s license until well after 16. The general cause of this may be due to the age limit of a required drivers ed course, which has many benefits to it. In all honestly it doesn’t matter when you decide to get your license, but what does matter is that you are a safe driver. 

Here are some general tips to safe driving. If you want more information or a more detailed explanation, use this link!

Take a drivers ed course. I know that the general idea of taking this type of class outside of school can seem boring or you may think you all there is to know about driving on the road, but consider the benefits. For one, this will prepare you entirely for driving anywhere. Did you know that “For each mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are about four times more likely than other drivers to crash!” To get more statistics, the Nissan Xterra Pic Crashrisks, and the costs of unsafe teen driving, click on this link. Not only this, but by taking this class (which is easy to do over summer!) you are eligible for a lower insurance rate. This is most helpful to anyone who is making car insurance payments.

Don’t text and drive. It is so common these days for kids to be on their cell phones, which doesn’t stop even when they are driving. Be sure to not use your cell phone, unless you have a hands free device, because it does cause more accidents.

Eliminate distractions! Use of your cell phone can also be put under this tip, but also keep in mind that friends, music, and even the buttons in the car used for general functions can all be a distraction. The risk of being in a car accident increases when you have distractions. Thus, it is important to decrease them as much as possible, especially when driving conditions (i.e., rain, snow, higher than normal wind speeds, heavy traffic, etc.) are not ideal.

Don’t drive while you are tired or inhibited by substance such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or other illImage Detailegal drugs. Many driving disasters happen when anyone, not just teens, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Decrease your chances of getting a ticket, going to jail, or killing someone or yourself by choosing not to use these types of substances.

Of course, it is also helpful to drive as often as possible with a parent or guardian who has had plenty of driving experience and can help with decreasing distractions as well as give pointers. If you would like information on more tips or information on driving classes click on this link. And one last thing…buckle up!