Prescription drug abuse has been a problem in the United States for years, but it doesn’t just impact adults. Teens have also been widely affected by the increased misuse of prescription medications, leading prescription drug abuse to be the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), 6% of Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescriptions every year. The NCDAS defines the term “abuse” as:
Prescription drug abuse is most common among 18-25 year-olds, but 4.9% of 12-17 year-olds also abuse prescriptions annually. The most common classes of misused prescriptions are stimulants, painkillers, sedatives, psychotropics, and opioids. The drug of choice among high school seniors is hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Vicodin), with an 8% reporting use, followed by amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) used by 6.5% of 12th graders.
Teens misuse prescription medications for many different reasons, including to fit in/impress peers, stress relief, energy/focus boosts, and to self-medicate mental health conditions like social anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. One of the biggest reasons teens abuse prescription drugs is because they are widely accessible, and they can easily access them from their parent’s medicine cabinets. They also incorrectly believe them to be safer than illegal drugs.
Vector Solutions offers courses about drug safety and substance abuse in the Vector Training Staff Safety and Compliance course library and the Student Safety and Wellness course library for grades 6-12.
Staff courses include:
Student courses include:
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