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How does prescription drug abuse affect teenagers?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Drug Charges |

Adults and teenagers tend to believe that prescription drugs do not have health consequences like recreational drugs. Unfortunately, the lack of education can lead vulnerable teenagers to develop a substance abuse problem.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S. is prescription drug use.

Common prescription drug use

For many young people, prescription drug use begins with the unauthorized use of prescription pain medication. People may originally take it under a doctor’s guidance but continue the usage or try it again at a different time. When it comes to prescription drugs, there are three categories associated with the misuse. Those categories are opioids, stimulants and depressants.

When a person uses opioids against a doctor’s recommendation, various consequences may occur. Opioids affect the same part of the brain heroin does. Those under the influence may experience nausea, drowsiness and slowed breathing. Those who abuse depressants may experience disorientation and less coordination. When someone tries to stop taking depressants, they may experience seizures. Stimulants, on the other hand, have similar side effects to cocaine. A person may experience paranoia, irregular heartbeat and high body temperature.

The impact of drug use on teenagers

Since teenagers still have a developing brain and body, drugs can affect the way the brain develops. Drug use can fracture neural pathways and reinforce addiction. When a neural pathway includes addiction, the teenager could struggle for a lifetime. To reduce the impact drugs have on teenagers, safe medication storage and drug monitoring may help kids avoid lifelong addictions.

Without parent and child education on prescription drugs, kids may still experiment or develop a substance abuse problem.