Prescription Drug addiction and Teens


For a number of reasons teenagers consume prescribed drugs. Some teens think the drugs will help them to have more fun or to be happier, or lose weight. Because family members could have the prescription, these drugs can be easier to get than street drugs. Prescription drugs are very commonly sold on the street like other illegal drugs as well. Some teens even think a prescription drug, regardless of whom it was prescribed to be safer than an ordinary street drug.

Cynthia may take her brother’s ADHD medicine to curb her appetite because she had been told how bad diet pills could be. Cynthia thought the ADHD drug would be safer. After all, it was prescribed by a doctor for her brother - - but not for her - - and not for the condition in which she is taking the ADHD drug.

Prescription drugs are only safe for the people who actually have prescriptions for them. A doctor has examined the person and told them exactly how to take the drug, and most likely, the person has also been told those things to avoid while taking the drug such as alcohol or other medications. Cynthia would most likely not have the same type of information and may combine this drug with another substance that could cause her significant health problems and/or even death.

Cynthia did not know that taking her brother’s ADHD medicine was also illegal. Taking drugs without a prescription – or sharing a prescription drug with friends – is breaking the law.

There are three classes of most commonly used prescription drugs which include:

• Opioids
• Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
• Stimulants

Opioids include:

• Oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and meperidine (Demerol)

Opiodis are prescribed to treat pain or relieve coughs or diarrhea.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants include:

• Valium and Xanax

Medical uses of CNS drugs are to treat anxiety, tension, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Stimulants include:

• Ritalin and Strattera

Stimulants are used to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, obesity and asthma. Drug abusers usually have trouble at school, at home, in relationships with friends or significant others and the law. A person abusing drugs is more likely to commit a crime or have an accident regardless of whether the drugs are prescribed medications or street drugs.

As with all types of drug abuse, using prescription drugs for the wrong reasons has serious health risks. A single dose of an opioid can lower breathing rate and even kill if taken by the wrong person in the wrong circumstances. These health risks are increased when taken with other substances such as alcohol, antihistamines, and CNS depressants. The most common result of prescription drug abuse is addiction.

Signs of prescription drug addiction:

• The need to have a particular drug or substance
• Changes in mood, weight, or interests

There are two kinds of treatment for persons addicted to prescription drugs, they are:

• Behavioral
• Pharmacological

Behavioral treatments teach people how to function without the drugs, how to handle cravings, how to avoid drugs and situations that could lead to drug use and preventing and handling relapses.

Pharmacological treatments involve giving a patient a special type of medication to help him or her overcome withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

If you are worried about becoming addicted to a drug prescribed for you, this most likely will not happen. Doctors know how much medication to prescribe so that you do not receive too much. The prescribed drug for you will be the correct amount and the drug will relieve your symptoms without making you addicted.

If a doctor prescribes a pain medication, stimulant or CNS depressant, follow the directions exactly. Keep all your doctor’s appointments. Your doctor will monitor how well the medication works for you and will make necessary adjustments. Some medicines will need to be stopped or changed after a while so the person does not become addicted. Follow all the instructions given regarding drugs and activities you should avoid while taking your prescription medication. At first consult your doctor to increase or decrease the medicine dosage regardless of how you feel.

For a number of reasons teenagers consume prescribed drugs. Some teens think the drugs will help them to have more fun or to be happier, or lose weight.
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