Teenage painkiller drug abuse is one of the major health concerns in US as many of the teenagers are getting addicted to these harmful drugs. According to a NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) report, about 5.3 million were current abusers of painkillers in 2009. About 1 in 10 high school children were abusing painkiller, Vicodin and about 1 in 20 reported using OxyContin for non-medical purposes.
The teenagers experience a high or euphoric effect for the first time as they intake painkillers. They may start taking these drugs in order to experience these effects but later, it may lead them to addiction. There are numerous causes of painkiller addiction among the teenagers like influence of other people, escape and self-medication, boredom, rebellion, instant gratification, lack of confidence, misinformation etc. Each of these can contribute to a life-long habit of taking painkillers.
Teen painkiller addiction involves non-narcotic and narcotic painkillers
In order to get relieved from emotional and physical pain, teens get addicted to non-narcotic and narcotic painkillers. Non-narcotic painkillers are the over-the-counter medications, but they can also be prescription drugs. They are very easily accessible by the teenagers which may lead to drug abuse. Narcotic painkillers are mainly used for chronic illnesses or they are prescribed to the people who are severely injured or while dealing with a surgery. Commonly abused painkillers are Opiates like Vicodin, Codeine, OxyContin and Demerol.
Causes for teen painkiller addiction
The teenagers may get addicted to painkillers because of various reasons which may include experimentation, emotional and physical stress, family history of painkiller addiction, low self-esteem, family tension, relationship problems etc. The other causes include:
The most common reason for painkiller addiction among the teenagers is because of the influence of their friends. Sometimes these friends even urge them to try these harmful painkillers. They imitate other addicted peers in school or the addicts in their neighborhood. They generally start with experimentation of these hazardous painkillers but end up with addiction.
Easy to get prescription drugs
It is easy for the teenagers to get painkiller medications prescribed for others. Painkiller medications are readily available for the teenagers in many households. Due to their easier availability, many of the teens are getting addicted to painkiller medications without knowing the dangerous effects of them. They may forge the prescription of their parents or elders who are using pain medications to get the prescription drugs. An addict may also take painkiller prescription from different doctors by stating some false illness to get the prescription medications.
Believe that prescription drugs are not harmful
Many of the teenagers wrongly perceive that the prescription drugs are not harmful as they are medically prescribed by doctors. They believe that prescription drugs are safer than the illegal street drugs such as Heroin or Cocaine. Many of them fail to understand that they are powerful drugs that need to be monitored and dosed properly.
The painkiller addiction among teenagers can cause many adverse effects on their health. The health effects of painkiller medications include nausea, constipation, dizziness, dryness of mouth, cardiovascular issues, hallucinations, hives, delirium, low or high heart rate, muscle rigidity, elevated intracranial pressure etc. The intake of prescription medications without the direction of a doctor may even lead to death.
Lack of supervision and communication between parents and teenagers may lead to pain killer drug addiction among the teenagers. Therefore, parents or elders should always keep an eye on teenagers. Teens should be regularly checked if they are stealing prescriptions, medications or money. These pain medications should be kept out of reach of teens and the unused medications should be discarded. Creating awareness and educating teenagers about the harmful effects of painkiller medication abuse will prevent them from getting addicted to the painkiller medications.