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Unless you have a really good fake ID, chances are you won’t be able to buy or consume alcohol until you are 21 years of age. So high schoolers are resorting to other ways of getting a high; prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Many teenagers do not believe that prescription drugs are “bad” for you, on grounds that ‘some people are prescribed this — so why can’t I use it?’
According to Teens.drugabuse.gov, prescription drug abuse is defined as, “someone taking a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a manner or dosage other than what was described.”
Amongst teenagers, three types of prescription drugs are at the top of the list for abusers; opiods, central nervous system depressants and stimulants. The most commonly abused opiods amongst teenagers is Oxycontin and Vicodin, followed by central nervous system depressants Xanax and Valium and lastly, stimulants such as Concerta and Adderrall.
If teenagers are unable to get there hands on these pills, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications that can give them a high with no age limit for purchase. And even if a teenager is unable to make it to the convenience store, there are household products right under their roof that they can take to get a “high.”
Glue-sniffing has been known for quite some time as well as inhaling fumes from house cleaning products, spray paint and hair spray. An intake of an abnormally high amount of cough syrup can also give someone the equivalent effects of PCP.
PCP was developed in the 1950s and was originally intended as an intravenous surgical anesthetic. Just like PCP, cough syrup in an excessive amount has the same dissociative effects and can be fatal. The effecting drug in both PCP and cough syrup is commonly known as NMDA and it essentially disrupts the brain from functioning normally.
Both drugs causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, fever and rapid, shallow breathing. If cough syrup or PCP is taken in higher doses the physical signs include nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, hallucinations and a potentially fatal high heart rate and temperature.
Unfortunately, it has been discovered that teenagers are experimenting with a new “drug,” unlike its predecessors: bath salt. It is one of the hottest new alternative drugs and it is taken in three different forms. It can be snorted, liquidated for injection or smoked. The high of bath salts is comparable to that of meth-amphetamines.
For children ages 12-17, 7.7 percent reported a non-medical use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs in 2011. And the problem is that these drugs are continuing to be readily available to teenagers despite being just as dangerous as illegal drugs. Few adolescents know the serious side effects of these “prescription” or over-the-counter drugs.
Opiods are found to be highly addictive and cause drowsiness, constipation and a physical dependence through repeated use. CNS, or central nervous system depressants, slows down the brain’s activity and ability to function when taken in abuse-dosages. Excessive amounts of CNS cause confusion and slowed breathing while long-term abuse can result in seizures.
Lastly, stimulants increase the level of chemicals in neurotransmitters, which affect the brain. Too much of a stimulant can result in panic or anxiety attacks, tremors, irregular heartbeats and even heart attacks.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse problem with prescription medication please reach out to www.prescription-drug-abuse.gov for more information.