Tying the Tentacles of Teen Opioid Abuse
The growing opioid abuse epidemic, which threatens to derail the United States from the path of progress, needs immediate attention. The biggest cause of concern is the fact that more teens are taking to opioids and adding to the nationwide chaos.
As per the 2014 “Monitoring the Future” survey of teen drug use by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 13.9 percent of high school students used a prescription drug for non-medical reasons or one that was not meant for them in the past year. The report stated that after alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs were the most abused substances by 12th graders in the past year. Adderall and Vicodin were the most commonly abused prescription drugs.
Why teens misuse prescription painkillers?
A number of reasons contribute to the growing teen opioid abuse in the country. There has been a steep rise in the number of teen opioid abuse cases. Their perception of the risk of such an abuse is very low as a large number of teens have been found abusing Vicodin or OxyContin. They take to these painkillers to get a high, alleviate pain, or to address anxiety and sleep problems. The prevalence of “study drugs” which include stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin is also quite high among teens.
The mounting pressure of studies and in a bid to stay ahead in the competition by improving concentration, energy and focus has fueled the teens to rampantly misuse such drugs. They grossly misinterpret the usage of these opioids and assume them to be safer than illegal drugs because they are prescribed by doctors. Teens’ misplaced faith in the ability of these medicines to improve cognitive performance in people who don’t have an attention disorder is another reason for its misuse.
Effects of prescription drugs on brain
Some commonly abused drugs among teens are Vicodin, OxyContin, Adderall, Xanax, and Valium. Vicodin and OxyContin belong to the class of medicines which target the central nervous system to treat pain, Adderall is used to treat ADHD, while Xanax and Valium are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. But these medicines are intended to be taken according to the doctors’ prescription for specific mental and physical conditions. These drugs are safe as long as consumed exactly as prescribed by the physician.
The problem begins only when one starts to use them in ways other than advised by the doctor or when used by people for whom these drugs were not meant. Under such circumstances, their effects could be similar to that of illegal drugs which can completely hijack the brain.
For instance, stimulant medication like Ritalin increases alertness, attention, and energy in ways similar to cocaine. It boosts the amount of neurotransmitter dopamine released in the brain. Opioid pain relievers, like OxyContin, act on the same cell receptors targeted by illegal opioids like heroin. An abuse leads to increase in the amount of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway. A person addicted to it repeatedly seeks that pleasurable feeling and begins to take a larger amount of the drug. Overdoses then lead to other complications, like drowsiness, constipation, etc.
Available treatment options
Prescription drug abuse is treatable with timely intervention and at the right center. One can reach out to an opioids addiction rehab in the vicinity to seek treatment. There are many preeminent opioids drug rehab centers in the country. The opioids addiction treatment in California, in particular, is among the best.
The Sovereign Health Addiction Rehabilitation is a highly acclaimed substance abuse and mental health treatment center with state-of-the-art facilities spread across the U.S. Whether you are looking for opioids addiction treatment in Los Angeles or in a remote borough, we have a center right there for you. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855–683–9756 for immediate assistance.