It is always tragic whenever anyone ends up becoming depending on illicit substances and starts a path down addiction. However, this tragedy is especially amplified when it is those who are still children who become victims of addictive behavior. Recently, studies have shown that 14 and 15 year old children have started to experience higher risks of becoming addicted to prescription drugs and medication.
Another study has shown that individuals between the ages of 12 and 21 have suffered higher rates of abuse of minor opioids over the last decade. This is incredibly dangerous at this age (as it is at any age) because the human mind is still developing, and is particularly susceptible to addictive traits. Here’s some information on why this has been happening…
Prescription Drug Abuse Begins Medically
What is especially disturbing about this trend is that it usually always starts with a medical intent. Young teenagers are, more and more, being given prescription painkillers for medical purposes. However, curiosity gets the better of many of these teens, and they begin to experiment with taking more than what is prescribed to see what it feels like. This is the behavior that eventually leads to a dependency on these drugs. It is unnerving that it is the actions of the very institutions that are supposed to protect public health that are inadvertently setting these young people up with a gateway to addiction.
It Is a Proven Gateway Drug
While abusing any sort of substance is particularly negative for the mind and the body, what is especially dangerous about these prescribed medications is that they are often opioids. This can make these relatively weak drugs a powerful gateway to other opioids that can be found on the streets, such as heroin, which is the most dangerous and addictive of all street drugs. This of prescription medication abuse on the rise actually coincides with a growing heroin addiction epidemic that has been hitting areas of the United States, particularly in the Northeast.
This Problem Needs Solving Now
For the sake of the young people in our communities, it is direly important that we deal with this problem now. Regulating and changing the way that we go about prescribing dangerous medications is something that must be done in order to prevent a medical gateway to heroin from taking hold of teenagers. On top of that, more research needs to be done on drug education, so that we can find the best way to teach teenagers about this social problem in a way that is meaningful and will have an effect on them.