The problem of addiction of teenagers to prescription drugs has been on rise in modern days. It is estimated that daily in the United States 2,500 youth abuse prescription drugs. This is not only a problem in the United States, but it also affects teenagers in Europe, South Asia, and Southern Africa. Over 15 million people have reported abusing prescription drugs globally. This is higher than those who reported abusing heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens. A 2007 survey carried out in the United States in 2007 indicated that in one month 6% of 17 to 25-year-olds and 3.3% of 12 to 17-year-olds had abused prescription drugs. This might seem like a low number, but considering that this only happened in one month you can imagine how prevalent the rates would be in one year. A survey conducted in 2012 found that 24% of teens had taken a prescription drug without a prescription. Marijuana and alcohol are still the highly abused drugs, but prescription medications follows in third place.
The main reason why teenagers abuse prescription drugs is to get high, relieve pain, or belief that the drugs will assist in schoolwork. Prescription drugs are readily available, and this makes it easy for teenagers acquire and abuse. Prescriptions can become addictive if taken in undesired quantities, which might lead to drug over dose, or death. There is a common misconception amongst teenagers that prescription drugs are less addictive and safer than street drugs. The drugs mostly abused are opioids, depressants, and stimulants. Opioids are used for treating pain and relief diarrhea and coughs. Depressants are used for treating anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disorders, and tension. Stimulants increase brain alertness, which results in greater attention, alertness, and energy. These prescription drugs are highly effective in the treatment of their respective diseases, but when abused they could have devastating effects. Some of the side effects of prescription drugs are stomach pain, confusion, hallucinations, and numbness. Numbness and hallucinations allow the teenagers to escape their reality and pain.
According to Drazdowski, Jaggi, Borre, and Kliewer (2014), the use of prescription drugs by teenagers has become a significant public health concern. The study the researchers conducted involved 1,349 adolescent offenders. The study established that there are some demographic factors related to the abuse of prescription drugs amongst teenagers. The exposure to violence, drug use, delinquency, and mental health were found to be contributors to the abuse of prescription drugs. However, there was no correlation between the abuses of prescription drugs with later usage of other drugs. The abuse of prescription drugs was not a vital contributor to future delinquency. The researchers concluded that prescription drug abuse might be a risk factor and was not the only predictor to future delinquency of a teenager. The study was conducted using a longitudinal survey, which enabled the researchers to make observations of the participants over a long period. This data collection method is effective in determining the use of prescription drugs and the teenager's future behavior. Developmental trends of the participants ensured that the researchers were able to collect enough information to determine the effects of prescription drugs on teenagers. The future behavior of the abusers is vital to establish the consequences and contributors to other problems. Although the researchers have indicated that the use of prescription drugs does not contribute to future delinquency, they do not promote its usage, and they only disassociate it with other drug problems.
Cranford, McCabe, and Boyd (2013) posits that most studies have used a variable-centered approach to examine adolescent prescription drug abuse. By using a person-centered approach, the researchers were able to identify distinct categories and subgroups of individuals. The researchers opted to have a person-centered and variable-centered approach for their study. The study was conducted in Southeastern Michigan for students in grade seven and twelve. 2,744 respondents completed the survey. The results indicated that about 8% of the respondents reported having used prescription drugs, and 6% had used them excessively. The study established that there might be at least three high-risk groups, and two of these groups have high probabilities of using prescription medications. Parental monitoring played a huge role in predicting the usage of prescription medications. The researchers established that most adolescents obtain the medications from family and friends. Other researchers also demonstrated this. Having parent-focused interventions was found beneficial for all families. The study confirmed what other researchers had found that girls were more likely than boys to report nonmedical drug use. The researchers have proposed that the usage of these prescribed drugs are effective in the treatment of various conditions. Therefore, any prescription drug abuse messages should ensure that the teenagers who are prescribed the drugs do not feel like drug abusers. Parents and teachers should also be vigilant for abuse risks.
The study conducted by Viana et al. (2012) comprised of 6790 youth enrolled in Mississippi public schools in grades six to twelve. The researchers used questionnaires for data collection. The questionnaires were conducted as part of mental health screening within the public schools. The study aimed at establishing the predictors of non-medical use of prescription drugs. Incorporating a huge sample of participants enables the researchers to eliminate the restrictions that were faced by James A. Cranford. The questionnaires made it easy for the respondents to answer the questions and provided for quick data collection. The researchers found that pain medications had a 57% rate of usage, 44% benzodiazepines, 37% prescription stimulants, 29% SSRIs, and 24% for antipsychotics. The youth who abused these drugs represented a quarter of the sample, and they did this for over ten days. Eight percent reported they used the drugs daily. The main contributors to prescription drug abuse were grade level, race, mood, anxiety, and suicidal symptoms. The researchers concluded that NMPDU is a multi-determined phenomenon and clinically relevant phenomenon. Further research is vital to establish effective prevention programs. The researchers were able to identify the contributing factors for NMPDU
Majority of research has focused on the issue based on urban teenagers. The prevalence of the issue in rural adolescents is the focus of the study conducted by Havens, Young, and Havens (2011). The researchers interviewed 17842 adolescents in 2008, 51% were male. The study was conducted in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The researchers noted that there were different aspect that could contribute to abuse of prescription drugs among teenagers in rural and urban areas. The results of the study indicate that the prevalence of NMPDU is higher in rural adolescents than urban adolescents. The easy availability of other drugs like heroin and cocaine in the urban areas is deemed a contributor to the low rates. In rural areas, these drugs are not easily accessible, which results in the adolescents seeking other forms to maintain their high. It is possible that the results were higher in rural areas because most of the respondents were from poor families, and they had not enrolled in school. Other researchers as contributors to drug addiction amongst teenagers have established these factors. The researchers established that parental involvement and having a strong family bond resulted in lower rates of prescription drug abuse. The study demonstrates that any interventions should be aimed at promoting strong family structures.
Sussman et al. (2012) conducted a longitudinal study for one year to predict the use of pain killer drugs amongst teens. The study had 1186 participants in different high schools in California. The data was conducted by self-reporting 30-day pain killer usage for one year. The research relied on observations made and the reports submitted by the students. Collecting data for one year ensured that the students would be more comfortable, and they were least likely to lie afterwards. The normal predictors like behavior, demographic, environment, and the researchers analyzed psychosocial effects. The study results indicated that there were higher levels of pain killer usage amongst the respondents. Majority of those who took the drugs were of white ethnicity, and they did not have any depressive symptoms, and lived with both parents. Those who have an easy access to prescription medication were found to be most likely to use abuse prescription drugs in the coming year. Having a large population and focusing on different schools allowed the researchers to eliminate the restriction of one geographic location. Catering for different locations provided the researchers with valuable data that could be used to expound on the topic. The predictors established would assist in prevention and development of materials to discourage the use of prescription drugs.
McCabe, Boyd, and Young (2007) conducted a study to establish the prevalence of prescription drug abuse amongst secondary school students in Detroit metropolitan area. The study was racially diverse, which allowed for examination of the various races in the area. The drug categories studies were opioids, stimulant, sedative, and sleeping. These have been established by other researchers as the main prescription drugs abused by teenagers. The study's main goal was determining the four categories,…