According to the study of “Teen drug use and attitudes”, it confirms that Generation Rx has arrived, as an alarming number of today’s teenagers are more likely to have abused Rx and OTC medications than a variety of illegal drugs like Ecstasy, Cocaine, Crack and Meth.
There is dramatic increase in the teenagers who are abusing prescribed drugs. This is Drug Misuse. Drug misuse means, use of any drug (legal or illegal) for a medical or recreational purpose when other alternatives are available, practical or warranted, or when drug use endangers either the user or others with whom he or she may interact.
Nearly one in five teens (19 percent or 4.5 million) report abusing prescription medications to get high and one in 10 (10 percent or 2.4 million) report abusing cough medicine to get high.
Based on the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) survey:
· Nearly one in five (19 percent or 4.5 million) teens has tried prescription medication (pain relievers such as Vicodin and OxyContin; stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall) to get high.
· One in 10 (10 percent or 2.4 million) teens report abusing cough medicine to get high.
· Abuse of Rx and OTC medications is on par or higher than the abuse of illegal drugs such as Ecstasy (8 percent), cocaine/crack (10 percent), methamphetamine (8 percent) and heroin (5 percent).
According to the data, an alarming number of teens have a false sense of security about the safety of abusing Rx and OTC medications:
· Two in five teens (40 percent or 9.4 million) agree that Rx medicines, even if they are not prescribed by a doctor, are much safer to use than illegal drugs.
· Nearly one-third of teens (31 percent or 7.3 million) believe there is nothing wrong with using Rx medicines without a prescription once in a while.
· Nearly three out of 10 teens (29 percent or 6.8 million) believe prescription pain relievers even if not prescribed by a doctor are not addictive.
· More than half of teens (55 percent or 13 million) do not agree strongly that using cough medicines to get high is risky.
To reduce this abusive trend, educating the teenagers and their parents is very important. Kids who report learning a lot about the risks of abuse from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs as those who do not. Unfortunately, most parents are either unaware or in denial about their kids vulnerability and exposure to the intentional abuse of prescribed medicines.
So it is a preventive act to encourage parents to educate themselves about the medications kids are abusing, communicate with their kids about the difference between good medicine and bad behavior and to safeguard their own medications – and ask their friends to do the same.
In addition to press outreach and public relations efforts, components of the campaign will include highlighting the risk of intentional abuse to Prescribed medicines on Television, Radio, Magazine and Newspaper is also helpful in reducing drug misuse.