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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse


Prescription Medications Overview
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, central nervous system (CNS) depressants (tranquilizers and sedatives), and stimulants are highly beneficial treatments for a variety of health conditions. Pain relievers enable individuals with chronic pain to lead productive lives; tranquilizers can reduce anxiety and help patients with sleep disorders; and stimulants help people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus their attention. Most people who take prescription medications use them responsibly. But when abused—that is, taken by someone other than the patient for whom the medication was prescribed, or taken in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed—prescription medications can produce serious adverse health effects, including addiction.

Similarly, some OTC medications, such as cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan, have beneficial effects when taken as recommended; but they can also be abused and lead to serious adverse health consequences. Parents should be aware of the potential for abuse of these medications, especially when consumed in large quantities, which should signal concern and the possible need for intervention.

Treatment for Teen Prescription Drug Abuse << back to top
Available options for effectively treating teen addiction to prescription drugs depend on the medication the teen is abusing.

Approaches to treating teen pain reliever addiction are drawn from research on treating heroin addiction, and include medications combined with behavioral counseling. Promising new approaches include depot or long-acting formulations of medications with effects that last for weeks instead of hours or days. This approach with the opioid blocker naltrexone is showing remarkable promise in clinical trials for heroin addiction-increasing abstinence, treatment retention, and decreasing craving.

Although no medications yet exist to treat addiction to CNS depressants or to prescription stimulants, behavioral therapies proven effective in treating prescription drug addiction.

Risks of Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs Used by Teens << back to top
Opioids (used to treat pain):
Addiction. Prescription opioids act on the same receptors as heroin and therefore can be highly addictive. People who abuse them sometimes alter the route of administration (e.g., snorting or injecting vs. taking orally) to intensify the effect; some even report moving from prescription opioids to heroin.
Overdose. Abuse of opioids, alone or in combination with alcohol or other drugs, can depress respiration and lead to death. Overdose is a major concern: the number of fatal poisonings involving prescription pain relievers has more than tripled since 1999.
Heightened HIV risk. Injecting opioids increases the risk of HIV and other infectious diseases through use of unsterile or shared equipment.

CNS Depressants (used to treat anxiety and sleep problems):
Addiction and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These drugs are addictive and, in chronic users or abusers, discontinuing them absent a physician's guidance can bring about severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures that can be life-threatening.
Overdose. High doses can cause severe respiratory depression. This risk increases when CNS depressants are combined with other medications or alcohol.

Stimulants (used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy):
Addiction and other health consequences. These include psychosis, seizures, and cardiovascular complications.


Content compiled above is intended for informational use only and it does not endorse or recommend services available in this site.

Information throughout this site is courtesy of:
www.drugabuse.gov
www.samhsa.gov
www.nimh.nih.gov
www.nida.nih.gov
www.cdc.gov
www.teens.drugabuse.gov
www.justice.gov
   
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Teen Drug Rehab Centers can guide you in the right direction in choosing an adolescent rehabilitation center that will provide the treatment and therapies specifically related to your child’s needs. If your doctor has recommended that your teen stay in an inpatient/residential addiction treatment program, we can help you get admitted. Give us a call at 1-888-610-2046 and we will help identify the most suitable treatment program for your child.
Remember, as parents, the earlier you start talking to your child about drugs, including prescription drugs, the more influence you may have on their values and decisions. Several short conversations are better than one long lecture.
 
Prescription Medications Overview
Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment
Risk of Commonly Prescription Drug Abused by Teens
What Are CNS Depressants?
What Are Opioids?
What Are Stimulants?
What is DXM?
Teen Prescription Drug News
Is Your Teen Addicted to
Prescription Drugs?
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