Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States. Unfortunately, children are one of the groups that are most heavily impacted by it. As a parent, you should be aware of this problem and provide treatment for your child if they are suffering from it.
Growing Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse Among Children
Prescription drug is unfortunately common among teenagers and preteens. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study shows that 17% of teenagers are abusing prescription drugs.
The dangers of prescription drug abuse are very serious. The CDC reports that 71,000 children were admitted to the ER for prescription drug overdoses between 2004 and 2005. The figure has grown significantly in recent years, as more children use prescription drugs for recreational purposes.
There are a couple of reasons that this is a growing problem. First of all, medications are being prescribed more frequently. It is much easier for them to get hold of these medications than to purchase other illicit drugs. They are also more likely to take serious risks than before. Many kids have pharming parties where they mix different medications into a dish and take them in handfuls.
It is frightening that nearly one in five children are abusing prescription medications. Parents need to be aware of these problems and provide treatment for their child if they suffer from it. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can help.
Treating a Child Suffering from Prescription Drug Abuse
Medical experts recognize the seriousness of prescription drug abuse. They are developing new clinics and programs to provide children with the treatment they need. Parents are encouraged to seek help for children and other family members with prescription drug problems as soon as possible.
You will want to be aware of the various risk factors that contribute to prescription drug abuse. Here are some common causes:
- Pay attention if your child has been prescribed painkillers or other narcotic medications. Children don’t always seek out medications to be rebellious. They often develop addictions to medications that they were prescribed after a surgery or another form of pain.
- Monitor your child if they are suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD or another mental illness. Children suffering from these conditions are more likely to self-medicate or take risks.
- Pay attention to any changes in their lifestyle patterns. Sleeping late, slacking performance in school, low energy, manic behavior and prolonged isolation are all possible symptoms of prescription drug abuse. It can be difficult to notice them if your child is suffering from an existing mental illness, so you will need to rule that out first.
There are a number of reasons that children suffer from prescription drug abuse. Fortunately, trained clinicians can diagnose the problem and make sure they receive the treatment they need.