Teens and Opiate Drug Abuse
Teenagers are at a high risk for drug abuse of all kinds. There are many reasons why they are at a high risk, including relatively harmless reasons like curiosity, peer pressure and the thrill of experimentation and more serious reasons like emotional struggles, stress and a desire to escape. What are the most common drugs abused by teens? Alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs are three very common drugs used by teens. Drug abuse by teens can cause long term effects, as their brains are still developing and susceptible to addiction.
Alcohol is legal and consumed by responsible adults in front of teens, so it can seem harmless and it can be easy to get. These are the reasons it may be often abused by teens. Since Marijuana has become legal in some states, it also seems a bit harmless.
One of the most dangerous drugs that teens abuse, however, are opiate painkillers. They can be easy to get ahold of, as many families have opiates in their medicine cabinets. Adults are prescribed opiates for all kinds of common reasons. These include chronic back pain, pain from surgery, childbirth and many other reasons. The adults might take the prescription for a while, but not need the whole bottle and then the bottle sits full and forgotten in their medicine cabinet. The problem with prescription opiates is that they are highly addictive, particularly to still developing teenage brains.
What can we do to curb opiate abuse in teens? There are some simple things that can help. First of all, be aware of your prescription medications. If you are prescribed an opiate for a legitimate reason, take is as directed, and dispose of any extra unneeded medications safely. Keep your prescription drugs locked up and out of reach, as you should all medications.
Keep a close eye on your teens, and if you notice any behavior that is out of character for your teen, take the time to investigate. If your teen has any noticeable changes in habits, grades, or personality, these can all be warning signs that they might be experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Don’t turn a blind eye and pretend there is nothing wrong, if you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, confront them and get them help.