The Growing Problem of Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens

Illegal drugs are no longer the problem among teens; it is the legal kind they can get at any drug store. Obviously, there is still a problem with illegal drugs among teens. The problem involves drug abuse and drug addiction. In years past, the problem of drug addiction centered on illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin and “party drugs” such as ecstasy. In communities across the nation, the unspoken problem is prescription drug use and abuse.

The numbers are staggering relating to drug addiction. More than 8.7 million people have an addiction to prescription drugs. This number exceeds the number of teens addicted to hard narcotics. A recent survey brought to light the need for recovery services aimed toward teens. The study stated approximately 60% of teen in the 12th grade obtain and use prescription drugs.

Why is prescription drug addiction a problem?
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several factors as to why prescription drug addiction is becoming a nation-wide problem. There is a misconception relating to the safety of the prescription drug. Parents and teens assume the medication prescribed by the doctor is safe. What is not considered in the implications of the drug. Several medications cause reactions similar to those of illicit drugs.  

An additional factor relating to the problem of prescription drug addiction is the availability. Prescription medications increased by more than 40 million users in the past two decades for stimulants and more than 134 million for analgesics.

What are the solutions?
There are several ways to help teens cope with addiction. It is imperative to communicate with a doctor, counselor, teacher, family friend or a hotline. Contact the Treatment Referral Helpline for services in your area.  The service connects teens and family with licensed facilities, organizations and support groups designed to assist with drug addiction. An anonymous source available is the National Suicide Prevention Helpline. Consider the available drug rehab and recovery programs. There are several free and low-cost services available such as Sundown Ranch, Marworth and Hazelden.

Hitting rock bottom does not mean giving up. When teens and families understand the horrors surrounding drug addiction and learn various ways to seek recovery, the outcome is positive. Teens are the lifeblood of the future. We need to provide assistance and guidance and stop them from hitting rock bottom.

By Corey Snyder
Director of Hitting Rock Bottom, a new webseries portraying real people and their stories of addiction and recovery, at

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