Teenagers & prescription drug abuse

Prescription drugs can be highly addictive and have harmful consequences. Although these drugs are safe to use when used in the appropriate manner as instructed by a doctor, it can have the same effect on the body and brain as that of other illegal drugs. Many people often overlook the abuse of these drugs because they do not see it as “that much of a big deal�? and do not realize how dangerous and common it really is. The abuse of these drugs is very common, especially among teenagers.

Watch out for the following signs of drug abuse in your child

Popular Drugs
Prescribed for treating
Use can lead to the following symptoms
Used to treat pain
Symptoms may include nausea, sleepiness, constipation and in extreme cases, difficulty breathing and eventually death.
used for sleep disorders as well as anxiety
Lack of coordination, slurred speech, tiredness, shortness of breath and disorientation.
used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy
Extreme paranoia, heart beating excessively fast and dangerously high body temperature.
prevent pain and aid sleeping
Confusion, drowsiness, involuntary movement, rapid eye movement, memory loss.

General signs of abusing prescription drugs

  1. Personality change: The person is likely to experience mood swings and behavioural changes.
  2. Withdrawal: The person will likely withdraw from society.
  3. Overlooks responsibility: The need for the drug may come before everyday responsibility.
  4. Defensiveness: May become defensive and lash out when questioned and feel like their secret is being exposed.
  5. Increased usage: Person keeps taking medication even when improvement of health is obvious.

Things that could encourage your child to abuse prescription drugs

  • Addiction: The need for the drug increases the more the drug is taken and once your child is addicted they will find it hard to stop by themselves.
  • Pleasure: Prescription drugs are often taken with other drugs or alcohol in order to get high and increase the pleasure sensation.
  • Availability: If you keep an unlocked stockpile in your house, your child or child's friend can have easy access to these drugs.
  • To lose weight: This is very common amongst teenage girls, due to the unrealistic ideals of society, teenagers often turn to prescription drugs in order to help speed up their metabolism and help loose unwanted weight.
  • Enhance athletic ability: This is most common amongst boys and is used to build and enhance muscle tone as well as enhance their athletic ability.
  • To do better at school: Teenagers often use prescription drugs to help them concentrate at school, thinking it will improve their performance and results, not knowing that this is highly addictive.
  • Peer pressure: As with most drugs, peer pressure is a huge influence. Teenagers often feel pressured into experimenting with drugs in order to fit in and be socially accepted by their peers, which often leads to addiction.

Protect your child

  • Ensure that they use the prescribed medication correctly and that they are using the correct dosage required.
  • Always inform your doctor as to what other medical/ herbal supplements they are taking before they prescribe any medication.
  • Consult with a medical advisor before stopping the use of, or taking any prescribed drugs.
  • Make sure you understand the side effects of the medication they are taking.
  • Only order medicine from trusted medical advisors - preferably not online.
  • Seek professional advice if they are becoming dependent on their prescription medication.
  • Never let them use someone else's prescription medication.
  • Keep your medication locked away from other people who might misuse it.
  • Teach them to resist peer pressure and stick to their morals.
  • Be available if they come to you for help.

You might want to read more about the drugs our kids use to study.


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