Teenage, marked by important changes in one’s life, is also the phase when children are under an overwhelming pressure, be it parental, social, academic or work-related. Thus, it is obvious for teens to encounter conditions that might make them feel worried and affect their mental health. While some teenagers take these changes in their stride with ease, others may find it hard to overcome the stress and may resort to taking illicit drugs or alcohol.
But one of the biggest concerns for parents of teens is their newfound addiction to prescription drugs. Many teens now a days have been using prescription drugs, such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other prescription opioids, for nonmedical purposes. A recent study by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan suggested that parents must adhere to proper disposal methods of leftover prescription painkillers, lest their children would develop an addiction to such drugs due to their free and easy access.
Painkiller use by teens ups substance use disorder risk by age 35
In the study, published in the journal Pain in July 2016, the researchers said that nonmedical use of prescription painkillers by teenagers may lead to serious substance abuse problem in them by the time they turn 35. But, when the use of these drugs is limited to medical purpose, such as providing relief from pain, there is absolutely no threat of abuse even at a younger age.
Using data from the national longitudinal Monitoring the Future study, the researchers carefully monitored more than 4,000 teenagers, from graduating classes (1976-1996) to adulthood (1993-2013). The results revealed that nearly one-fourth of the teenagers were involved in lifetime medical or nonmedical use of prescription opioids at the age of 18 years, although more than 90 percent participants who were reportedly engaged in nonmedical use of prescription drugs at 18 years of age did not show signs of misuse of drugs through age 35.
But, the most frightening result was that nearly 53 percent participants, who were engaged in nonmedical use of opioids at the age of 18, eventually developed two or more symptoms of substance use disorder by the time they reached the age of 35 years. Moreover, over a quarter of the participants who stuck to medical use of opioid painkillers also revealed a history of their nonmedical use at 18 years of age, which was ultimately associated with a high probability of substance abuse or opioid misuse during adulthood.
Leftover prescription medications can trigger nonmedical use of opioids
It was observed that more than a third of teenagers who were engaged in nonmedical use of opioid drugs had an easy access to these drugs, perhaps due to leftover medications from their own prior prescriptions. This clearly showed a functional relationship between medical use of prescription opioids and an increased vulnerability of teenagers to get habituated to their nonmedical use.
“These findings indicate to health professionals and parents that enhanced vigilance is needed when prescribing opioids and monitoring their use among adolescents to reduce subsequent prescription opioid misuse and substance use disorders,” said Sean Esteban McCabe, a research professor, Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. Thus, it is important for parents to adopt adequate measures to dispose of leftover opioid drugs.
Road to recovery
Long-term use of opioids may be the result of self-medicating tendency of patients, especially teenagers, to treat emotions of distress. Therefore, the need of the hour is to develop and implement alternative therapeutic interventions for pain to curb the use of opioids. It is also important to educate people about the possible perils linked to opioid addiction.
If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids, it is necessary to seek instant help from one of the recognized prescription drug abuse treatment centers in USA. The Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can guide you to one of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers that can help you get addiction-free. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online for treatment options in your area.