Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Valarie Ward
Drug abuse is often associated with illicit use of illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine. But the advance of teen drug abuse appears in a place you might not expect. According to an article Dr. Manny Alvarez published at FoxNews.com, prescription drug abuse is a growing problem amongst teens, aggravated by increasing availability. We decided to look into teen drug abuse in the Charlotte metropolitan area.
Prescription Drug Abuse Cases See Growth
The North Carolina Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that our state is monitoring a rise in prescription drug abuse, especially among teens. It’s a trend that’s taking the nation by storm, and the constant push to prescribe is one of the factors to blame.
Prescriptions drugs can be just as addictive and deadly as illegal street drugs when abused or misused. Some of the latest data reviewed by the NC DOJ revealed that more than 1,000 deaths in North Carolina are attributed to prescription drug overdose. This annual statistic is part of a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that established through evidence the surprising fact that more Americans die from prescription drug overdoses each year than those killed in motor vehicle accidents. The seriousness of the advance in drug abuse can be clearly seen by the 4th consecutive year Attorney General Roy Cooper hosted a video contest for teens, encouraging them to take an active stand against prescription drug abuse.
WSOC TV dug deeper into the statistics and brought a very real, very local face to the advance of teen prescription drug abuse. In a recount of the death of Diane Woodward’s oldest son to an overdose, the impact becomes clear. Prescription drug abuse kills, and the terrifying fact is that most teens than ever don’t understand how dangerous these drugs can be.
Changing the Trend
The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, how do we change the trend? How do we stop teen drug abuse before it gets any worse? The answer lies squarely in education.
A national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that prescription drugs are the second most abused drug behind marijuana. And the vast majority of youth believe these drugs are safer than street versions because they are prescribed and monitored by a physician. But this belief fails to take into consideration that the majority of misused drugs are procured through a friend or family member where no medical supervision is present!
Did you know that 53% of ADHD drug users are adults, and one of the most abused teen drugs is ADHD medication? Teens take it in hopes of improving their academic performance or mental sharpness.
Two tasks lay ahead. First, we need to actively education our youth about the dangers of prescription—of any—drug misuse. The more they know, the more likely they will be to make smart choices as a product of knowledge and positive peer pressure. Second, we need to control the flow of these drugs better. Don’t share prescriptions, ever.
Are you ready to take a stand against the advance of teen drug abuse? Then you should jump onboard with our Just Once Challenge.