PRESCRIPTION
DRUG ABUSE

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What is prescription drug abuse?

Taking more than prescribed

Taking a medication for a reason other than why it was prescribed

Taking someone else’s medication, even for a legitimate medical reason

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS + TEENS

RISKS + EFFECTS
TEENS

Don’t open a lifetime of problems.

Misusing prescription drugs can be the first step in a long struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Young people are not immune from the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. The average age for first-time abuse is 13-14.

THE MOST COMMONLY ABUSED MEDICATIONS ARE:

  • Opioids (painkillers like Vicodin and
    OxyContin)
  • Stimulants (ADHD medications like
    Adderall and Ritalin)
  • Depressants (anxiety/sleep medications
    like Valium and Xanax)

Most teens get these drugs from friends and relatives, sometimes without the person knowing.

No matter how they get them, the results are clear. Prescription drug abuse can damage lives, even end them.

RISK OF ADDICTION
Not only are these medications addictive, but here’s one very scary side effect: teenagers who misuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and 20 times as likely to use illegal drugs.

HEALTH RISKS
In addition to vomiting, mood changes and confusion, prescription drugs carry the risk of overdose, particularly combined with alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe.

OTHER SIDE EFFECTS:

  • Trouble at school or work, at home or with friends
  • Trouble with the law
  • Increased likelihood of being a victim of crime
  • Increased risk of accidents

WARNING SIGNS TEENS

Know the warning signs.

Since these drugs are often in the home for reasons that don’t involve their abuse, spotting a prescription drug addiction in a young adult can be particularly tricky.

PEERS AND PARENTS ALIKE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THESE WARNING SIGNS:

Loss of interest in appearance

Loss of interest in sports or social activities

Cash, valuables or medication missing from the home

Sudden mood changes

Changes in friends

Deceitful and secretive behavior

Radical changes in schedule

Sleeping excessively or at unusual times

Noticeable increase in snoring

HOW TO HELP
TEENS

Sometimes teens take prescription drugs to get high and have fun. But there are other reasons as well: to stop pain, to deal with anxiety, depression or stress, or to stay up later and focus in school — a dangerous trend.

It’s important to listen, understand and deal with the underlying issues teens are facing.

KEEP YOUR HOUSE SAFE:

  • Discuss the dangers of misusing medications (including not combining with alcohol)
  • Keep track of your prescription drugs; lock them up
  • Properly discard old or unused meds
  • Never give or sell medications to anyone
  • Make sure your child isn’t ordering online; some websites don’t require a prescription
  • If your child is prescribed a potentially addictive medication, be clear about not sharing or taking more than prescribed
  • Set a good example by using medications appropriately
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS + ADULTS

WARNING SIGNS ADULTS

Know the warning signs.

Many adult prescription drug addicts show no overt signs of addiction. They go to work, church and their kid’s actives with no outward symptoms.

ONLY WHEN YOU LOOK CLOSER CAN YOU DETECT SOME OF THE WARNING SIGNS:

Deceitful and secretive behavior

Irregular schedule

Sleeping excessively or at unusual times

Noticeable increase in snoring

Sudden mood changes

Loss of interest in favorite activities

Closed off from family and friends

ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP

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