Prescription drugs are the highest abused illicit substances by teenagers outside of marijuana. The reason for this is not surprising; many of these drugs are available right in the drug cabinet. Prescription painkillers, sedatives and stimulants are all very commonly abused by young people, increasing drug treatment admissions by over 300% over the last 20 years. Below are some of the drugs and dangerous behaviors associated with the pills you can find in your very own home.
Common Dangerous RX Drugs
Painkillers : The most common abused of the “household drugs”, painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin are not only dangerous but highly addictive.
Stimulants : Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin which are used mainly to treat disorders such as ADHD can have the same type of effects as methamphetamine and cocaine.
Benzodiazepines : Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan are prescribed as sleep aids and for anxiety disorders. Some of them are some of the most dangerous drugs you can find in your medicine cabinet, especially when combined with alcohol.
Antidepressants : Drugs like Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, and Lexapro are prescribed now for everything from weight loss to muscle pain, they are in many medicine cabinets and are left lying on bedside tables.
Excuses Teens Use
Any parent knows their child will come armed with any excuse for their behavior if they know their parents disapprove of it. Abusing drugs that are technically prescribed brings along with it no shortage of rationalizations teenagers will use. Some that you will hear are:
“But Dad, you use them.”
“It is not like I was using Heroin.”
“But I only took one.”
“Aren’t these drugs legal though?”
“A doctor wouldn’t give you something that’s bad for you.”
Despite even some of the validity to these statements, the dangers of prescription drug abuse are real and children need to be educated on the dangers of drugs, legal or not.
Legal and Lethal Consequences
Many teens don’t just take a few pills to ‘try them out’. Oftentimes different types of pills are combined in large amounts. Alcohol is also often involved, making the mixture exponentially lethal. Some young people are even known to throw what are called “Pharm Parties”, where those invited will bring pills from their own home, combine them in a bowl and take handfuls of unknown substances blindly without reserve. It is easy to see why this type of behavior can have deadly consequences.
Over 10% of drug arrests are teens under the age of 18, but legal consequences are not reserved just for the teens and young loved ones. Parents have been known to be charged for negligence when overdose or even death occurs and drugs were involved that were prescribed to them. If your son or daughter were to give another child these prescription drugs and they were to overdose and die, it is highly likely that a civil suit against you for negligence will result in your having to pay damages.
What Should You Do?
Locking up your prescription medication and taking an inventory of the drugs in your house can only go so far. Educate your children. The best thing you can do is to let them know the dangers of prescription drugs, whether they can be found in your home or not.