Teenagers are easily influenced by external factors and have a high tendency to experiment. They are often attracted to activities that they feel would prove their coming of age. Such activities can be as harmless as shaving or putting on make-up, to harmful ones like sexual experiences, smoking and consumption of alcohol or/and drugs. Drug use is not just restricted to illicit drugs like marijuana and cocaine only, but also use of over-the-counter prescription medicines as well.
However, initiatives are being taken by colleges and authorities at the federal level to create awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse among the younger generations. Public-private partnerships such as the Regional Substance Abuse Action Council created by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is going a long way into building networks, involving community leaders, schools and other public offices to spread knowledge on substance abuse prevention and promote mental health services.
The Southeastern Regional Action Council (SERAC) is one of the 13 Regional Action Councils (RACs) created by the Connecticut Legislature. According to its 2014-15 (updated in 2016) report based on a survey conducted with 7,400 youth in grades 7-12, belonging to 10 communities in Southeastern Connecticut, 13 percent of the youth in the region reported ever having misused a prescription medication. 8 percent reported ever having misused prescription pain medicines without a prescription, where pain medication is the most abused prescription drug. Also, only 4 percent of the youth in the region reported ever having misused an over-the-counter medication for recreational purposes. In comparison to a time period of 2006-2015, perception of harm associated with prescription drug misuse increased or remained constant.
Preventive measures creating awareness
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) is a K-12 education program to impart knowledge on drugs, violence and other risky behaviors to schools in various countries including America. It also collaborates with police departments where officers teach the youths about dangers of prescription painkillers and tranquilizers. Students actively take part in campaigns organized by D.A.R.E. and advocate prevention from substance abuse by creating posters, messages and other collaterals for school.
One of the misconceptions that the participating youth is trying to break is the fact that since prescriptions are recommended by doctors and are manufactured in a lab, they are safe. It is also letting fellow students know that self-medication to relieve anxiety and stress ends up in addiction to painkillers. Some schools are also educating parents to be proactive in keeping prescription drugs away from the reach of children and getting rid of unused pills and bottles. Parents are advised to initiate conversations with their children about the correct use of prescription drugs and dangers associated with overdose.
Since there is stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse issues, most children do not talk about it. Such programs are helping them to seek help and channelize their problems in the right direction instead of experimenting through unlawful ways.
Recovery road map
According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future Survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), prescription opioid abuse has declined among high school students over the past five years. However, youngsters need to be more informed and offered alternate therapies to handle stress.
Dependency on prescription drugs is a gateway to misuse and addiction. If you or anyone that you know is showing signs of increased dependency on prescription drugs, it may lead to serious problems. You can seek help from the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline that can connect you to the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers. You can call us on our 24/7 helpline (866) 450-1557 or chat online with our medical representatives to learn more about prescription drug abuse treatment clinic in U.S.A.