How to Deal with Prescription Drug Abuse in Young Adults

How to deal with prescription drug abuse in young adults

The dangers of taking hard drugs like heroin and cocaine have been highlighted over the years. Recently, the abuse of prescription drugs appears to be on the rise in America’s young population.

This may be due to a popular misconception that prescription drugs are less harmful than street drugs. However, studies show that over-the-counter medications can be equally addictive and could lead to fatalities if they are not used according to doctor’s direction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), people aged 18 to 25 are the top abusers of prescription drugs in the US. Data from the NIH shows that up to 1,700 young adults died from the abuse of prescription drugs in the US in 2014.

The number of people in this age range who die from an overdose and other forms of prescription drug abuse yearly has spiked since 1999.

Types of Prescription Drug Abuse

There are three main categories of prescription drugs that are widely abused:

1. Depressants: These types of drugs, which include sleeping pills and barbiturates, have varied effects on patients including drowsiness, reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and more. Some examples of depressants that are abused include Xanax, valium, amytal, phenobarbital, Ambien, sonata, and more.

2. Medications Containing Opioids and Morphine: Drugs which contain opioids and morphine are arguably the most abused today. Currently, the US is dealing with what has been described as an opioid epidemic.

As many as 19,354 people died in 2016 due to abuse of opioids. These drugs are usually prescribed for pain relief. Some examples of opioid and morphine-derived medicines that are widely abused include medications that contain codeine, Roxane, methadone, Duragesic, Vicodin, oxytocin, Darvon, and many others.

3. Central Nervous System Stimulants: As you can probably guess from the name of this category, stimulants are drugs used to induce increase energy and alertness in patients. Some stimulant drugs that are abused include Adderall, concerta, biphetamine, Dexedrine, Ritalin, and more.

How Prescription Drugs are Abused

The abuse involves using the prescription drug for non-medical purposes or failing to use it in the way prescribed by the doctor. Some people swallow multiple tablets of these drugs, some inject them, some smoke them, and some even snort them.

Why Prescription Drugs are Abused

There are several reasons why people abuse prescription drugs. Some of the reasons are:

  1. Peer Pressure: The pressure to feel accepted by peers and to experiment is one of the top reasons why young adults abuse prescription drugs.
  2. To Get High: Many people also tend to abuse prescription drugs in the quest to get high.
  3. To Increase Alertness: Some young adults abuse prescription drugs to stay alert when they want to study or perform something taxing.
  4. To Relax: Another reason why people abuse prescription drugs is to relax. This is especially true for people who have insomnia or similar conditions.
  5. Addiction: Sometimes, people who are addicted to hard, street drugs turn to prescription drugs to get their fix.

Dangers of Abusing Prescription Drugs

There are many dangers of abusing prescription drugs.

1. Physical Dependence and Addiction: This is one of the top consequences of abusing drugs. People can quickly develop a craving for the stimulation that prescription drugs provide. This often leads to physical dependence and addiction.

2. Risky Behavior: People who abuse prescription drugs tend to engage in risky behavior which can result in accidents or imprisonment.

3. Crime: Drug abuse and crime are closely linked. People who abuse prescription drugs are likely to commit crimes.

4. Use of Illegal Drugs: Abusing prescription drugs can lead people to start abusing street drugs.

5. Unstable Relationships: Another consequence of abusing prescription drugs is troubled relationships. People around drug abusers tend to have a hard time coming to terms with their poor choices as well as their mood swings and this often damages their relationship.

Doorways Can Help You Deal with Prescription Drug Abuse

If you are abusing prescription drugs or you have a friend or relative who is, Doorways can help. We have a team of dedicated staff who help every step of the way by providing a safe and supportive environment.

Our approach involves helping patients identify the things that made them start abusing prescription drugs and offer counseling to enable them to overcome these issues. Give us a call now at 602-997-2880.


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