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Survey Finds Teen Misuse And Abuse Of Prescription Drugs
Up 33 Percent Since 2008
By Dr. Mercola
One in four teens has misused a prescription drug at least once in their
lifetime, according to new survey results from the partnership at Drugfree.org
and the MetLife Foundation.
This represents a 33 percent increase in the past five years!
Among one of the most commonly abused class of drugs are stimulants like
Ritalin and Adderall, of which one in eight teens (13 percent) said they had
taken even though it wasn’t prescribed to them.
Prescription drugs don’t hold the same stigma as illegal recreational
drugs, even though they can be just as deadly, leading teens to regard them as
a safe way to get high.
In many cases, parents only add to this assumption, not only because they
may take multiple prescription drugs themselves but also, as the survey
reported, because close to one-third of parents believe prescription
stimulants can improve their teen’s academic performance.
One in Six Parents Believe Prescription Drugs Give a Safer
'High' Than Street Drugs
Another shocking belief held by one in six parents was that using
prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs. This might
explain why 86 percent of teens said their parents had not talked to them
about the risks of abusing prescription drugs. In fact, it’s often the
parents’ own medicine cabinets that become their children’s drug dealers
Some teens even describe having Skittles parties, where they combine a mix
of pills they took from their parent’s medicine cabinet into one big bowl,
then take a few just for fun.
Sadly, some teens pay for this one bad decision with their lives. Drug
fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and
2008, and these drug-induced fatalities are not being driven by illegal street
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that
the most commonly abused prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and
Soma now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. As written in the
"According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,
prescription drugs are second to marijuana as the drug of choice for today's
teens. In fact, seven of the top 10 drugs used by 12th-graders were
More than 40 percent of high school seniors reported that painkillers
are 'fairly' or 'very' easy to get. They also reported that they believed that
if they were to get caught, there was less shame attached to the use of
prescription drugs than to street drugs. This mirrors the perceptions of their
parents, who when queried said that they felt prescription drugs were a safer
alternative to drugs typically sold by a drug dealer."
There’s Nothing Safe About Prescription Drug Abuse
If you have a teenager or pre-teen in your life that you care about,
please make it a point to sit down and talk to them about the dangers of
taking prescription drugs just for fun. Far from being safer than illegal
street drugs, they can sometimes kill in just one pill.
Be sure to let them in on this simple fact: in many cases there's no
difference between a recreational street drug and a prescription drug. For
example, hydrocodone, a prescription opiate, is synthetic heroin. It's
indistinguishable from any other heroine as far as your brain and body is
concerned. So, if you're hooked on hydrocodone, you are in fact a good-old-
fashioned heroin addict.
Worse, pain-killing drugs like fentanyl are actually 100 times more potent
than natural opioids like morphine, making the addictive potential and side
effects associated with prescription drug use much higher. Among the most
commonly abused prescription medications, along with their risks, which you
can share with your teen, include:
Morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl all fall into
this category. These drugs are not only addictive, they can also lead to
slowed breathing and death if too much is taken.
These include drugs such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall (the latter
of which actually contains amphetamine, known and sold on the street as
"speed" or "crank"), which are often used to teat ADHD, narcolepsy and even
sometimes depression. Along with being highly addictive, stimulants sometimes
lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia, along with risks like irregular
heartbeat, heart failure and seizures.
When a stimulant is combined with another medication, such as an
over-the-counter cold medicine that contains a decongestant, it can cause
dangerously high blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms.
Used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, medications such as Valium,
Xanax, Ambien, and Sonata are also addictive, and cause side effects like
confusion, drowsiness and impaired coordination. This can be especially risky
among teens if they then get behind the wheel to drive, as it increases the
risk of accidents. Further, if these drugs are combined with alcohol or pain
medications, the results can be deadly.
In the Popular Science infographic above, you can see rankings of some of
the deadliest drugs in the US, according to data from the CDC. What is
striking about this graphic is not only the steady rise in drug-related
deaths, but also the fact that close to 60 percent of the drug overdose deaths
involve pharmaceutical drugs such as opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone, and
methadone), anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs the
very same drugs often preferred by teens for a safer high.
Politicians Are Worried About Soda But What About Prescription Drugs?
Soda taxes and other measures to lower soda consumption is a hot topic
among politicians. Obviously, helping teens to drink less soda is an admirable
and important public health goal, but what about the abuse of prescription
drugs? One American dies every 19 minutes from an accidental prescription drug
overdose, a phenomenon now being described as “the biggest man-made epidemic
in the United States. Yet, this is a soaring public health epidemic that
receives far too little attention from the media and lawmakers alike.
Unfortunately, we’re living in an era when the drug industry is praised
and revered for their life-saving medications, when in reality even their
proper use often takes lives unnecessarily. Drugs are known to cause well over
125,000 deaths per year in the US when taken correctly as prescribed and
still the FDA allows fast-track approvals and countless new additions of
poorly tested drugs to the marketplace that must later be withdrawn due to
their lethal consequences.
This FDA approval makes teens believe that taking a few pills here and
there is no big deal, and parents add to this flawed belief by often giving
medications to their kids when they’re not really necessary a practice that
often starts at a very young age.
Nearly Half of Parents Give Cold Meds to Kids When They Shouldn’t
In children under the age of 4, common over-the-counter cough and cold
medications can lead to allergic reactions, increased heart rate, slow
breathing, confusion, hallucinations, drowsiness, sleeplessness, convulsions,
nausea and constipation. This is why, since 2008, labels on these drugs state
that they’re not intended for children under 4. Yet, according to a new
survey, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll
on Children's Health, more than 40 percent of US parents give these cough and
cold medications to their children aged 3 and younger.8
There is a common perception that if you’re coughing, sneezing or have a
low-grade fever, you must take a medication to get rid of it. In reality,
coughing and sneezing are tools your body uses to get rid of viruses and
irritants, and fever also helps to kill bacteria and viruses.
So if you take a drug to stop these natural protections, you are actually
stopping your body’s healing process -- and in the long run it will likely
take you even longer to feel better. That, combined with the serious risks
these drugs can pose to children, makes a strong case against their use yet
many parents still reach for such medications at the first hint of a sniffle.
For kids, this sends the message that drugs are necessary to make you feel
better a belief they may keep when they reach their teenage years
Novartis Drug Company Being Sued for Illegal Kickback Scheme
You probably wouldn’t trust that a drug dealer on the street had your best
interests at heart you would assume they’re mostly interested in making a
profit. But make no mistake the leading pharmaceutical companies are also
among the largest corporate criminals in the world, behaving as if they are
little more than white-collar drug dealers.
In one of the most recent examples, the US government sued the drug
company Novartis for giving pharmacies discounts and rebates to switch kidney
transplant patients from competitors’ drugs to their own anti-rejection drug
Myfortic. Medicare and Medicaid reportedly paid tens of millions of dollars in
reimbursements to the pharmacies as a result of the illegal kickback scheme,
which has reportedly been going on since 2005.
This is not an isolated incident, either. A 2010 study analyzed trends in
criminal and civil actions against drug companies, and revealed that the drug
industry is the biggest defrauder of the federal government under the False
Claims Act.9 Despite stiffer financial penalties, criminal activity has
increased dramatically in recent years. These white-collar criminals are the
same ones behind the supposedly safe medications sitting in your medicine
cabinet; if they’re willing to defraud the federal government, what makes you
think they’re not willing to defraud you, too?
12 Signs Your Teen May be Abusing Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug abuse often goes unnoticed by parents until it’s too
late, so be sure to keep a close eye out for the following signs that your
teen may be abusing prescription drugs:
Changes in sleeping habits or energy level
Changes in mood or personality Changes in personal hygiene or appearance
Changes in friends
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite
Changes in grades or dedication to schoolwork
Constricted eye pupils (pinpoint pupils), which may be a sign of opiate use
Poor decision making
Restlessness or impulsive behavior
Missing medications around your home
Loss of interest in activities, sports, etc.
Sudden weight loss
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
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