Teens and the misuse of prescription drugs: evidence-based recommendations to curb a growing societal problem
This article looks at the growing problem of misuse of prescription drug abuse among teens in the United States. This trend is studied and analyzed to see what are the most effective ways at preventing this problem. Prescription drug abuse has been on a frighteningly dramatic incline since the early 2000’s and is growing every year. The drugs most frequently abuse include pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and prescription stimulants. According to the article, white females in their late teens are most likely to misuse prescription drugs across all classes of drugs. While one would think that educating teens on the hazards of misusing prescription medications, there is actually and inverse relationship between level of perceived risk and likelihood of use when it comes to teens willingness to abuse. Increased promotional media for prescription drugs, parental prescription drug use, and the increase pressure of academic success are the most influential triggers for teen drug misuse.
The article suggested that the best form of prevention is to target the gatekeepers to these drugs. Educate parents that prescription misuse is a very serious risk and their drugs should be carefully monitored. Providing parents with information about why their prescription drugs are “desirable” to their teens such as to get high, to sedate themselves, sell, etc. School based prevention methods such as educating about the risks of misuse and also addressing the misconceptions of self-medicating and abusing drugs should be integrated into adolescent education. This growing problem is a multi-dimensional issue that is fueled by media and social influence. Understanding these dimensions will help prevention programmers to intervene and reduce prescription drug misuse.
After reading this article I felt overwhelmed by the problem prescription drug misuse presents in today’s society. Teen social pressure is a relentless influencer on negative behavior, which makes this problem so difficult to correct. I believe that it is the health care provider’s duty to educate all patients receiving highly abused medications on the risks of drug misuse. While this may come as offensive to some patients, it is essential to address the potential for their teens to steal and abuse their presription. No parent wants to assume the worst in their child, but in today;s world it is a necessity for parents to protect their teens from falling into the peer pressure trap of misusing medications. This article enlightened me to this growing problem and motivated me to promote prevention when I am in the work force.