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October 19, 2021

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Explained


One of the most common misconceptions is that prescription medications are safe. While prescription drugs are heavily researched and tested, there is always a risk when you put any type of medication in your body. This is especially true if the prescription medication is not taken as prescribed or is taken by someone for whom it was not prescribed. Misusing prescription drugs is even scarier for teens because their bodies and brains are still developing. Sadly, teen prescription drug abuse is a growing problem with teens misusing prescription opioids, stimulants, and psychotherapeutic medications. 

At The Nook, we know the tragedy of teens misusing prescription drugs. We understand how harmful prescription drugs can be for your teen, and we want to help. We will support you and your teen with a wide range of therapeutic offerings that will enable your teen to live a life free of drugs. 

What Are Prescription Drugs?

Legal drugs are often divided into two categories – prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are those medications that can be purchased in a store without a prescription from a healthcare provider. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, many cold medicines, many antacids, and more. Prescription drugs require a prescription from a healthcare provider and can only be purchased at a pharmacy. Prescription drugs are prescribed for a wide range of medical and psychological disorders and conditions. Prescription medications are dosed to the person who is being treated and are often based on that individual’s height, weight, and health history. Teen prescription drug abuse is so dangerous because it usually involves taking drugs prescribed to another individual. 

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Explained

The most commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three categories – stimulants, opioids, and depressants. Stimulants, such as Adderall, can have similar effects to illegal stimulants including paranoia, high body temperatures, an irregular heartbeat, and more. Opioids, such as Oxycontin or Vicodin, are similar to heroin in how they affect the brain. Opioids can cause drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and even slowed breathing. 

Depressants, such as Xanax, can cause slurred speech, shallow breathing, disorientation, lack of coordination, and more. Withdrawing from any of these drugs can be challenging or even dangerous without medical supervision. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than sixteen million people aged twelve or older admitted to misusing prescription drugs. The study also showed the magnitude of the teen prescription drug abuse problem with findings including:

  • Nearly one million teens misused tranquilizers or benzodiazepines
  • Almost one half million teens misused stimulants
  • Nearly one million teens misused prescription opioids

Many who report misusing prescription drugs admit that they acquired the medications from a family member or friend. Only a tiny percentage purchased prescription medications from a drug dealer, demonstrating how many view prescription drugs as less dangerous. Tackling teen prescription drug abuse requires a great deal of education and a lot of discussions.

How To Get Your Teen Help With a Prescription Drug Problem

We understand that it may be devastating to realize that your teen needs treatment for their drug problem. It may seem unbelievable what likely started as teenage experimentation has transformed into addiction, mainly if the drugs being used were prescribed. At The Nook, we can help your teen transform and help them focus on lifelong recovery. Our sober living homes are often the bridge between early and long-term sobriety. 

Our sober living homes in Los Angeles are located centrally to allow outings to the beach, the golf course, the mountains, and explore Los Angeles. In addition, we offer our clients support to live a life that allows for maintaining employment, educational, and familial commitments. Contact us today to see how we can help your teen build a life in recovery. 

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