The abuse of drugs and the development of an addiction can be very complicated. In some cases, an addiction can develop accidentally when an individual begins using a substance for a legitimate medical reason.
In other situations, a teenager may try using a prescription medication out of curiosity, peer pressure or a variety of other reasons. Although the reasons for an addiction can be complicated, there are risks that are associated with the abuse of certain substances.
Prescription Drugs and Substance Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is classified as an epidemic, says the White House. Many individuals are using the prescriptions in a way that deviates from the directions of a medical professional. In the case of teenagers, they may take the medication from a friend, relative or even by taking the drug from a parent’s medications.
Although prescription pain relievers are often given to help with severe pain after an accident, surgery or a chronic condition, it can be dangerous when it is abused. The White House explains that a primary reason that some teenagers may abuse the drugs initially is the misunderstanding about the safety of the substance. Teenagers may assume that a prescription drug is not dangerous.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that roughly 26 to 36 million individuals abuse opiate drugs around the world and roughly 2.1 million Americans are abusing prescription medications. Since teenagers are starting to use the drugs more frequently, there is a possibility that heroin abuse will develop in the future.
Abuse of Heroin by Teenagers
CNN reports that addiction professionals are seeing children as young as 12 years old who are abusing heroin. In many cases, teenagers are reporting that they started out using prescription medications and ultimately began using heroin at a later date to help reduce the cost of their addiction.
According to the New York Daily News, heroin abuse is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the country because it is less expensive than the prescription medications that they started taking. Furthermore, it produces a similar high or feeling of euphoria that is associated with the prescription medications.
The New York Daily News reports that the rates of teenagers who are seeking treatment for heroin addiction has increased by almost 80 percent since 1999, and many of the individuals who are using the drug are teenagers from middle-class families. Since heroin can be purchased for almost 1/10th of the price, according to the New York Daily News, many suburban teenagers are turning to the substance as a substitute when the cost of maintaining an addiction to prescription drugs becomes too expensive.
Concerns about Addictions
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that roughly 15 percent of high school seniors have used prescription medications for recreational purposes or non-medical reasons by the time that they graduate. Since the risk of abusing heroin can increase when a teenager becomes addicted to a prescription opiate, parents should be aware of the potential concerns that may arise and should discuss the risks with children and teenagers at an early age.
An addiction to an illicit substance does not always begin with an interest in the substance. In many cases, teenagers will use other substances and will begin using the illicit drug when they are no longer able to afford the prescription medication. Heroin abuse is a growing problem, but parents can help reduce the risk of addiction by talking about the risks of substance abuse. If you are concerned about a loved one in your family, then it may be time to seek the assistance and advice of a professional.
To learn more about opiates and heroin abuse, give us a call at 877-466-0620.
http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2014/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse, http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/prescription-drug-abuse, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends, http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/07/us/long-island-heroin-youths/, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/heroin-soars-suburban-teens-talk-heroin-problem-talking-prescription-drug-problem-article-1.1099140