TEEN MISUSE AND ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IS UP 33 PERCENT SINCE 2008
The problem is real, the threat immediate. The situation is not poised to get better.
New findings from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, show that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. That is a 33 percent increase since 2008.
Contributing to this sustained trend in teen medicine abuse are the lax attitudes and beliefs of parents and caregivers. We can all work together to solve this growing problem, and the first step is getting educated about the dangerous behavior of Rx drug abuse. Check out the findings from our latest Partnership Attitude Tracking Study to learn more about the latest trends in teen Rx abuse.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: CHECK OUT THE A&E “HOPE FOR RECOVERY” WEBINAR
As part of The Medicine Abuse Project's launch week, The Partnership at Drugfree.org and A&E Networks hosted a webinar focused on recovery from medicine abuse on September 27.
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org joined a panel of experts for the virtual event, "Hope for Recovery." If you missed it, you can still watch the full webinar on the A&E website.
HOW BIG OF A PROBLEM IS MEDICINE ABUSE?
Medicine abuse is an epidemic, cutting across geographic, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries.
Last year, millions of parents learned they were their teen’s drug dealer. A new kind of drug abuse is killing our kids. Download the print PSA to learn more.
WHAT EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO KNOW
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?
Used as prescribed or directed, medicines improve our lives. When misused and abused, the opposite is true, and the consequences of this behavior are devastating, particularly among teens.
Our society has become very familiar — and comfortable — with the common use of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines. As new medicines for alleviating symptoms come to market, they are heavily promoted with their images advertised in newspapers, magazines, on television and the internet, raising our understanding of the conditions they treat. As a result, teens have grown up associating medicine with solving problems — and have a heightened awareness of Rx and OTC medicines.
Teens also have easy access to medicine. Two-thirds (65 percent) of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances. v
While some teens abuse medicine to party and get high, many are using medicine to manage stress or regulate their lives. Some are abusing prescription stimulants to provide additional energy and increase their ability to focus when they’re studying or taking tests. Many teens are abusing pain relievers, tranquilizers and over-the-counter cough medicine to cope with academic, social or emotional stress.
Teens don’t see this behavior as risky. They see their parents taking medicine – and they believe that since medicine is created and tested in a scientific environment it is therefore safer to use than street drugs.
But there are real dangers to medicine abuse. Teens who abuse prescription medicines can experience dramatic increases in blood pressure and heart rate, organ damage, difficulty breathing, seizures, addiction and even death. Teens who abuse over-the-counter cough medicine can experience rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, diarrhea, seizures, panic, drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, impaired physical coordination, coma and overdose. vi
Research conducted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org shows that parents are not communicating the risks of prescription medicine abuse to their children as often as they talk about street drugs. vii This is partly because some parents are unaware of the behavior (which wasn’t as prevalent when they were teenagers), and partly because those who are aware of teen medicine abuse tend to underestimate the risks, just as teens do.
Together, parents and grandparents, health care providers, community leaders and educators can all make a difference and end medicine abuse. Find out what you can do.
iv NSDUH, 2010
v NSDUH, 2010