Prescription Drug Abuse
Have you talked to your kids about the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse? Teen
drug use is down for most drugs, but Prescription Drug Abuse is on the rise. Heath
Ledger just died from an overdose of Prescription Drugs. Make sure your child knows
the dangers of Prescription Drugs. Read our article to learn the facts, then speak
to your kids about this important topic!
For more in depth information about this problem, please read these books on Prescription
our exclusive Feature Article:
Prescription Drug Abuse - A Parent's Guide
Parents know that they have to warn their children about the drug dealers that they
may meet on the streets or even in their schools. They know to tell their kids about
the dangers of heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, and marijuana. It seems to be working,
as use of these drugs are declining. But there are some drugs that are being abused
more often today. And your children don't need to be in contact with a drug dealer
to get them. I'm talking about prescription drugs, drugs that may be in your medicine
cabinet right now!
The National Institute
on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that in the last 10 years, overall drug use has decreased
44% among 8th graders, 27% among 10th graders, and 15% for 12th graders. However,
they also report that prescription drug abuse "remains unacceptably high with virtually
no drop in ... use. " NIDA goes on to say that "15.4 percent of high school seniors
reported nonmedical use of at least one prescription medication within the past year."
that Actor Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight) died (on
January 22) of an accidental overdose of six prescription drugs, with a mix of painkillers,
tranquilizers and sleeping aids found in his system. Mr. Heath Ledger died as the
result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam,
temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. "If someone has an overdose death with that
kind of toxicology report, it's usually an indication that they were either doctor-shopping
or purchasing medications either on the street or on the Internet," said Andrew Kolodny,
a psychiatrist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Use this shocking news story to open up a dialog with your children about the dangers
of prescription drug abuse.
The NIDA notes that abuse of drugs such as opiates (painkillers), depressants (tranquilizers)
and stimulants "can alter the brain's activity and lead to addiction." These kinds
of drugs are readily available from the medicine cabinets at a young person's home
or the home of a friend. They can also be bought at some online pharmacies that will
sell drugs without prescriptions or proper identification.
The problem of teen drug abuse
is a pressing issue that threatens the lives and future of millions of youth around the globe.
What Prescription Drugs are being abused?
Morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet),
propoxyphene (Darvon), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine
(Demerol) and related drugs are used to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other
hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. Also, codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
for example-can be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea.
Barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral), pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), Amytal,
Seconal, and Phenobarbital, are used to treat anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders.
Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide HCl (Librium), and alprazolam
(Xanax), are prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks.
The more sedating benzodiazepines, such as triazolam (Halcion) and estazolam (ProSom)
are prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep disorders. Another depressant is
flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) which is a powerful hypnotic drug often prescribed for insomnia.
It has also been abused as a date rape drug.
Stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate
(Ritalin and Concerta), amphetamine (Biphetamine andDexedrine) and methamphetamine
(Desoxyn). They historically were used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems,
obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments. But as their potential
for abuse and addiction became apparent, the medical use of stimulants began to wane.
Now, stimulants are prescribed for the treatment of only a few health conditions,
including narcolepsy, ADHD, and depression that has not responded to other treatments.
Second only to Marijuana, teens are using prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin
to get high.
They believe these drugs are safer than street drugs.
They get the drugs from friends, relatives or their parent's medicine cabinets easily
and for free.
Among teens, girls are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than boys.
It's not just teens
In October 2003, Rush Limbaugh announced that he was addicted to prescription pain
medication, namely OxyContin. This indicates that someone with a lot to lose and someone
with many resources to fight an addiction could still find themselves unable to stop
using these drugs. If Rush could fall into this trap, imagine how hard it might be
for your son or daughter to kick a prescription drug addiction. At the time of Rush's
announcement, CNN reported that
Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist in Pasadena, California, said, "We're really
talking about opiate addiction. The withdrawal is miserable and painful and it takes
a long time to recover."
For a personal account of
how prescription drug addiction can affect an individual and their family, read the
book "Prescription Drug Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic" by Rod Colvin. Rod's brother
Randy died on his 35th birthday from the effects of mixing drugs and alcohol. He had
battled a dependency on prescription drugs including Valium and Percocet since he
was 20. His family noticed that he was often "drunk on pills" but Randy would become
angry and deny his problem when confronted. In writing this book, Rod talked with
people with many different occupations and activities, and excerpts from his interviews
make up a good part of the book. Abusers discuss their methods and sources and disclose
that many of them felt that since they had prescriptions, they weren't really drug
abusers. In a review, Pharmacist Jean Sheffield said, "This book fills a long-standing
void--that of the need for education about the rampant abuse of prescription medication."
Get rid of Prescription Drugs
Unused or expired drugs should be thrown in the trash unless the label or patient
information sheets say to flush them down the toilet. There is a list of drugs that
the FDA advises should be flushed, at this
website. Also, check to see if your community has a pharmaceutical take-back program
or solid waste program that collects unused drugs. They are a good place to dispose
Also, consider keeping the Prescription Drugs that you currently take under lock and
key. If your medicine cabinet doesn't lock, you might actually consider keeping them
in a safe or other locked box.
For more information for parents about drug abuse, please see TheAntiDrug
website which provides practical information about what to do and say to your
children if you suspect that they have an addiction problem.
Kenny Crane has been writing about YouTube
videomakers and their videos at YouTubeStars.com since
June 2006. He also publishes the YouTube
Top 100 Weekly Chart of the Most Popular YouTube videomakers.
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