Youth’s Drug of Choice? Prescription

From the LA Times:

A new generation of drug users, by contrast (to the boomers), isn’t waiting to reach middle age to add prescription drugs to its portfolio of abuse, the report says. Among teens and young adults 12 to 25, one-third of those who use illicit drugs say they recently have abused prescription drugs — including painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants. Among kids 12 to 17, 3.3% had abused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the last month. Among 17- to 25-year-olds, 6% had abused prescription drugs in the last month.

Those generational trends are driving a significant change on the landscape of American drug abuse. After years of declining American use of street drugs — cocaine, hallucinogens and even marijuana — prescription medications have begun moving front and center as the nation’s drug of choice.

The result, according to the latest federal drug-use survey: Last year, Americans who began abusing prescription drugs outnumbered those who took up smoking marijuana — traditionally the nation’s “gateway drug.”……

…..Though addiction to prescription drugs is not new, the current generation of teens and young adults has grown up around unprecedented widespread medical use of prescription drugs, Volkow says, and is inclined to view them as safe because they are prescribed by doctors.

What is not made as clear as it should be in this article is how many children are becoming addicted to drugs that are prescribed for supposed psychiatric disorders. Stimulants like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderal, etc. are routinely used and passed around—those who are prescribed them “legitimately” giving them to friends to use. I suspect that statistic that I bolded above is grossly understated. It doesn’t count all the kids who simply shouldn’t be on “psychotherapeutic” drugs at all, but are on them with the blessings of doctors and parents.

Then there is the very disturbing fact that is being brought to light that Seroquel, a hard-core neuroleptic that basically knocks people out is being abused and sold on the street. It’s been referred to as a “heroine substitute.”  Furious Seasons has a lot on this phenomena and kids have been arrested in schools dealing this heavy tranquilizer.

I think this LA Times article barely scratches the surface of how deeply entrenched drugs are in our society. I think we are creating a nation of drug addicts, most of whom think, along with their parents, that they are taking drugs they really need prescribed by psychiatrists.

10 thoughts on “Youth’s Drug of Choice? Prescription

  1. I can’t imagine anyone actually wanting to take Seroquel. I always have it around for when manias get unbearable, but I truly hate the stuff.

    My son’s crowd used to be into anti-anxiety drugs, he’d trade his scrpt meds for others.

    Hope you’re well.

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  2. another drug that turned real ugly for me…the last time I took it I had the worst reaction…after using is semi-successfully for years…

    my body just can’t handle any of this stuff anymore.

    you don’t sleep for 14 hours straight? I could never wake up on seroquel…

    I think you take tiny bits of a 25 mg pill though, huh?

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  3. I worked in drug testing and you’d be shocked at the number of people on legal meds like benzos and barbs who come up positive for scripts not their own. In the industry I was in, that was grounds for firing.

    That’s amazing about Seroquel on the streets. I’m in love with the stuff, so I guess I understand why.

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  4. Gianna,

    Any time you post something for young kids, you get my support! We’re sending them mixed messages – without any doubt….”stay drug-free”, and then telling them they “need to stay on their meds”…..very confusing…..and, there isn’t a lot of difference between street drugs and rx psych meds….

    The other group is our elderly – who have a special place in my heart as well – those in nursing homes for instance – with little say in what the docs give them, what they are supposed to “take” for dementia.

    My dad was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s…..started doing lots of research for him….He’s on Huperzine A (chinese moss), fish oil, grape seed extract, folic acid….a number of things…..doing really, really well – without “meds”!

    Thanks!!!

    Duane

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  5. yup, Doe,
    I’ve read the same thing a number of times…thought about it when I wrote this, but stuck with talking about younger kids…but I’m glad you brought it up…it belongs here.

    thanks.

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  6. Funny…I just (meaning a minute ago) got done reading an article in this month’s Playboy about how many kids are on Adderal (basically a form of meth amphetamine), and how common it is for college students to use it as a “performance drug” for academics. College students, reportedly, are using less street recreational drugs, and are prefering prescription drugs because they feel they are “safe”, coming from a doctor.

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  7. Wow, that’s quite a wake-up call to read. I don’t expect the statistics look much different where I’m at – Australia. Very similar cultural landscape but smaller scale here.

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  8. Gianna,

    “I think this LA Times article barely scratches the surface of how deeply entrenched drugs are in our society.”

    Agree,

    Duane

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