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?
- Difficulty breathing
- High body temperature
- Fast heartbeat
- Slurred speech
- Shallow breathing
- Lack of coordination
- Changes in your mood, perceptions, and behavior
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.
We have all experienced it: consequences for the stupid choices we have made in life. Whether it’s being grounded for not doing an easy homework assignment, getting a monster speeding ticket, or anything else, we have all done something foolish and have paid dearly for it. We expect this to happen from time to time, but few really ever expect those consequences to really hurt themselves or others.
One 18 year-old girl has learned this the hard way. High on prescription meds, she lost control of the van she was driving, veered into a yard, and hit and killed a 69 year-old retired doctor. She is now facing manslaughter charges, and a life that must be lived with the knowledge that her stupid decisions cost someone her life. Her stupid decisions will likely end up destroying her own life; if convicted she could spend decades in jail.
It is sad to see her screaming and crying in the video, realizing that her decisions have destroyed. The shocking part of finding oneself in such a situation is that there are no “re-do’s” If asked, there are definitely things she would say she would do differently. She would have not taken the prescription meds. She would not have driven the van high and without a licence. She would change any number of things so that the lady would still be alive and so that she would not spend a large chunk of her life behind bars. Unfortunately, it is too late. No matter how sorry she feels, no matter how loudly she screams, no matter how many times she asks for forgiveness, she cannot undo what happened, and it is all a product of her choices.
If you are abusing drugs or alcohol, do you really understand that your choices will destroy? Not only can you destroy your own life, but you could destroy the life of someone else.
This blogger has been around the block a few times; there is not much that surprises anymore. That is until coming across something shocking while reading an article on prescription drug abuse. While prescription drug abuse is nothing new, what teens are doing with them is a dangerous wake up call.
What they are doing is called “pharm” or “bowling” parties. At these parties, the teens dump whatever meds they brought into a bowl. The contents of the bowl are mixed thoroughly, and then the teens randomly take pills from the bowl and ingest them.
It doesn’t get much more risky than this. Someone who eats random pills from a bowl is just begging for a stay in the hospital and for kidney damage. There are countless things which could go horribly wrong with this situation, and death is one of them. Pharm parties are just like a game of Russian Roulette: you really don’t know if you will survive. Teenager, be wise. Do not abuse prescription drugs and especially don’t take random mixed pills. Parent, be wise. Do not leave prescription meds out and available for your kids to access. If you do, they may decide to play prescription roulette.
There is good news…and bad news. First, the good news is that use of illicit drugs has gone down amongst teens ages 12 to 17. Now the bad news: the abuse of prescriptions drugs has gone up among teens.
Prescription drugs are all too easy for youth to get their hands on, so it is no surprise that over 3-million teens have reported they have abused prescription drugs. Youth do not have to seek a dealer to give them prescription drugs; nor do they have to be out on the streets to seek them. It is as easy as opening a small mirrored door to obtain these drugs. The Oregon Partnership has reported that it is easier for teens to get their hands on prescription drugs than a beer.
Prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illegal, street drugs, but one may not realize that since they are readily available in the home. Teens may also mix medications that are not supposed to be taken at the same time or within several hours of each other, and this mix can be deadly. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids (pain killers), CNS depressants (meds for anxiety or sleep problems), and stimulants (ADHD meds or meds for sleeping disorders like narcolepsy). The scary fact is that those who abuse meds as a teen are at a higher risk for becoming dependent on drugs later on in life. This situation got a lot of attention when actor, Heath Ledger, died of this very thing.
Review the following guidelines for prescription drug abuse prevention and discuss them with family & friends.
LOCK YOUR MEDS
Prevent your children from abusing your own medication by securing your meds in places your child cannot access.
Download your Home Medicine Inventory Card, write down the name and amount of medications you currently have and regularly check to see that nothing is missing.
EDUCATE YOURSELF & YOUR CHILD
Learn about the most commonly abused types of prescription medications (pain relievers, sedatives, stimulants and tranquilizers). Then, communicate the dangers to your child regularly; once is not enough.
SET CLEAR RULES & MONITOR BEHAVIOR
Express your disapproval of using prescription drugs without a prescription. Monitor your child’s behavior to ensure that the rules are being followed.
PASS IT ON
Share your knowledge, experience and support with the parents of your child’s friends. Together, you can create a tipping point for change and raise safe, healthy and drug-free children.
PROPERLY DISPOSE OF OLD AND UNUSED MEDICATIONS
For the latest guidelines on safe and proper disposal of medications, click here.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD ALREADY HAS A PROBLEM
If you suspect your teen is using drugs, do not wait to do something about it. Visit the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for a listing of treatment centers in your area, or call (800) 662 – HELP (4357).
Prescription drug abuse has nasty side affects: explosive diarrhea (no joke), uncontrollable vomiting, hives, upset stomach, difficulty breathing, extreme nervouseness, and more. Just because these types of drugs are easier to get a hold of, they are just as hard to shake in terms of addiction. If you are feeling like life is crazy and you want an escape, talk to someone about it. Pills are not the answer.