Teenagers all over the country are being prescribed medications to handle sleep problems, anxiety problems and attention problems. In our society we have adopted the attitude that it is best to medicate people who are having difficulties with life, even if those people are still developing their brains and bodies. A recent study shows that teens who are prescribed medications to treat anxiety or sleep problems are much more likely to start abusing drugs in the future.
“Prescribers and parents don’t realize the abuse potential. These drugs produce highly attractive sensations, and adolescents may start seeking the drugs after their prescriptions run out,” explained one of the researchers of the study that took three years to perform. The study looked at 2,700 teenagers in middle school or high school. Of those 2,700 children, 9 percent had been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication in their lifetime. These types of medications include Xanax, Valium or Klonopin, which are all benzodiazepines that have a very high rate of abuse and dependence.
Researchers determined that teenagers who had been prescribed potentially addictive medications such as these in the past, or who were currently taking these medications were ten times more likely to consume other drugs in the future. When the pleasant, euphoric sensations of prescription drugs wears off, or the person can no longer get the prescriptions, they oftentimes resort to street drugs in an effort to feel the same as they did when they were taking the pills.
Since street drugs are often easier to obtain and cheaper, substituting them for the prescriptions sometimes becomes easier than acquiring more pills from a doctor and going through a pharmacy.
The researchers also found that the students who were most likely to abuse their medications were white females. Those students who had a prescription currently were also more likely to abuse drugs than those who had a prescription in the past but were no longer taking the medication.
Researchers hope that educators, parents and physicians take note of this study. Before insisting that a child be medicated for a certain problem, it is a good idea to try other remedies that might not have such a severe impact. Unfortunately, it is necessary to consider that your child may develop a drug problem from something that is supposed to help them. It has become well known throughout the country now that prescription drugs have sparked millions of addictions unnecessarily.