Prescription drug abuse is a when an individual takes a medication in an inappropriate way or for something other than its prescribed use. Due to the legal and legitimate uses for these drugs, often times prescription drugs are more readily available to teens and young adults than alcohol or other drugs such as marijuana. In fact, at least 42% of teens who have abused prescription drugs have obtained them from their parents’ medicine cabinets.
If you believe that your child or teenager may be misusing or abusing prescription drugs, it is important to realize that this abuse can have serious consequences. To learn more and for prescription drug abuse treatment information, contact one of our Missouri drug rehab centers today in Kansas City, Columbia, or St. Louis.
Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
The most common reason for abusing prescription drugs is to get high. There a wide variety of types of prescription medicines that teens and young adults commonly abuse. Additionally, some types of non-prescription drugs may also be used inappropriately.
The most commonly abused prescriptions and drugs fall into the following categories.
- Opioids: This includes pain relievers such as OxyContin, OxyCodone, Percocet, and Vicodin, which are often powerfully addictive even for adults.
- Stimulants: This includes Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin. These drugs are often abused by students trying to study or work long hours.
- Benzodiazepines: This includes Xanax, Valium, Kolonopine, and Ativan. These are medications normally used to reduce stress or other conditions such as muscle spasms and seizures, but they are commonly abused by teens and young adults. Their abuse may lead to brain damage.
- Barbiturates: These types of prescriptions are similar to Benzodiazepines, however, many of them have been phased out of production in favor of Benzodiazepines. As a result, barbiturate abuse is less commonly seen among teens.
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines: One of the most commonly abused types of non-prescription medicines is cough syrup containing dextromethorphan or DXM. To get high from this drug requires that the abuser take more than the package recommended dose. The results may be a hallucinogenic high similar to ketamine or PCP. Some mistakenly assume that abusers of cough syrup are interested in the alcohol content, but in reality it is the DXM.
Important Facts & Misconceptions
Prescription drug abuse is the third most common form of drug abuse behind alcohol and marijuana in children 14 and older. While most people take prescription medications responsibly and as prescribed, it is estimated that 20% of those 12 and over have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime.
Many people mistakenly believe that prescriptions are safe and have no negative consequences such as a risk for physical harm or addiction because doctors prescribed these medicines for legitimate use. Because of that misconception and the ready availability, prescription medicine abuse is one of the most common addictions among young adults and teens.
Local Missouri expert Sargent Jason Grellner warns, “one of the major issues that people do not understand is that opiates like hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxicontin, and heroin are all the same drug. Many users are becoming addicted after using opium pain relievers. Addiction affects people from all backgrounds and demographics, it does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how rich you are, or how loved you are.”
Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse
- Finding Unmarked pills or plastic bags of pills
- Very small pupils, which may indicate opiate use
- Large, overly dilated pupils, which can indicate amphetamine use
- General decline in schoolwork or performance
- Anger or aggressive outbursts
- Regularly withdrawn or depressed
- Unusually forgetful
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Change in appetite
- Secretive or suspicious behavior
- Needing to see a doctor for abnormal pains or unexplainable anxieties
- “Doctor Shopping” which is getting prescriptions from different physicians in the same or relatively close time periods
- Becoming angry with doctors who will not prescribe desired drugs
Learn More About Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Options in Missouri
If you suspect that you teen of prescription medication abuse or misuse, it very important to seek help. To learn more about how our prescription drug abuse treatment can help and for a free consultation, contact one of our Missouri drug rehab centers today. You can reach us by phone in St Louis at 636-532-9991, in Columbia at 573-256-8020, and in Kansas City at 816-941-4000.