Prescription Drug Abuse Can Lead to Other Substance Abuse Problems

clip_image002[2] (59 x 72)A new, national survey released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation confirmed that one in four teens have misused or abused a prescription (Rx) drug at least once in their lifetime – a 33 percent increase over the past five years. Contributing to this sustained trend in teen medicine abuse are the lax attitudes and beliefs of parents and caregivers. In fact, nearly one-third of parents say they believe Rx stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve a teen’s academic performance even if the teen does not have ADHD

According to Gary Pearce, Executive Director of Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, “Misuse of prescription medications are often the first step toward use of other illicit drugs. Parents fear drugs like cocaine or heroin and want to protect their kids. But the truth is that when misused and abused, medicines – especially stimulants and opioids – can be every bit as dangerous and harmful and often lead to abuse of those illicit street drugs.”

Addiction begins with drug abuse when an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs. Drugs interfere with normal brain functioning creating powerful feelings of pleasure, but they also have long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. At some point, changes occur in the brain that can turn drug abuse into addiction, a chronic, relapsing illness. Those addicted to drugs suffer from a compulsive drug craving and usage and cannot quit by themselves.

Parents need to communicate the dangers of Rx medicine misuse and abuse to their kids, safeguard their medications at home, and dispose of unused medications properly. Parents say they don’t have much influence over their teenage children, but, surprisingly, teenagers admit that parents do have an influence.

One way parents, grandparents and other caretakers can take immediate action is by using the new Talbot County Drug Drop Box for the collection and disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as vitamins and pet medicines. This secured box is located in the lobby of the Talbot County Public Safety Center at 115 West Dover Street in Easton and is available daily from 5:00 am until 9:00 pm for residents to dispose of unwanted, unused or outdated medications to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and being abused.

For additional information on what parents can do to help their children avoid the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.