Teen Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

PR Newswire PR Newswire • December 20, 2019

As a parent, you may have heard a lot of frightening information on the opioid crisis currently sweeping the country. According to recent reports, roughly 4 percent of individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 struggle with some form of addiction to narcotics. What’s worse, becoming addicted at such a young age and failing to find help can lead to more serious issues such as accidental overdose, incarceration and even death.

If you are concerned with the news you have been hearing about the opioid crisis, now is the time to take action. Teens often fall prey to narcotics due to a number of varying factors—to protect your children you must educate yourself on the facts and myths about the illness to learn more about how and why teenagers are so susceptible to drug addiction.

Prescription Abuse

For many years, a vast majority of Americans believed that drug addiction was something that only happened to and among people living unsavory lives. Images depicting shady dealers selling mysterious substances on the streets to unwitting teens filled all sorts of anti-drug campaigns throughout the ’80s and ’90s; however, in current times, people have become more aware of the origins of addiction. In fact, many people first become addicted to narcotics after receiving prescriptions for opioids from what they consider a trustworthy doctor.

While physicians are not strictly to blame for addiction, some studies have suggested that some medical providers have not exercised proper restraint in prescribing opioids. Though tighter restrictions are now in place and prescriptions for opioids are being regulated, parents also need to stay aware. If your child has been in an accident or suffered an injury that may require pain medication, be sure to ask whether or not other options are available. Limiting access to pain meds, prescribed or not, is a guaranteed way of reducing the odds of chemical dependencies developing early.

Fitting In

Though preconceived notions about drugs and addiction might be built on misconceptions, there are certain widespread rumors that prove true. The general idea of peer pressure plays a significant part in a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs or medications.

Psychological studies have suggested that teenagers act impulsively and take bigger risks than adults because their brains offer greater rewards for risk-taking. In other words, the rush a teenager feels when agreeing to do something illegal or dangerous at a friend’s insistence might be all it takes to have an otherwise good kid succumb to peer pressure. It’s also important to note that all teens are at risk for abuse; whether a youth comes from a troubled upbringing or a perfect home, statistics have shown that heroin addiction and overall opioid abuse impact people of every economic background.

Prevention Ideas

Understanding how and why teens become addicted can be a good way to become educated about prevention. Still, parents may need to take more definitive steps in order to help their children avoid the pitfalls of narcotic abuse. Overall, it is vital that parents speak with their children about drugs and alcohol. Simply stating that these substances are “bad” and should not be used under any circumstances is not enough. In fact, studies suggest parents who tell children not to do drugs without real reason might actually be pushing their kids in the direction of using various substances.

Instead of using such ineffective tactics with your family, consider properly educating your family about the dangers of drug addiction. Avoid pain medications altogether and, if this is not possible, be sure to carefully monitor how and when your child takes these meds during his or her recovery from injury. Open discussions and constant education can be vital when it comes to helping a young person make the right decisions.

Stay Mindful

Certain issues such as depression and anxiety might cause teenagers to turn toward drugs or alcohol. Depression is an ailment that many people live with. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to vocalize that he or she is dealing with the symptoms of depression. This can cause people to turn to substances like heroin to numb the pain and find some type of comfort. Stay mindful of how your children are handling various stressful situations in their lives and it may help you see the signs of depression before matters reach dangerous levels.

The opioid crisis has been growing steadily over recent years. Unfortunately, teens are a demographic considered at risk when it comes to narcotics. When you take the time to properly educate your children about the dangers of opioids, it can help facilitate conversation. Stay informed of the latest news and trends about the opioid crisis and educate your children with open discussions in order to increase their awareness of the dangers of taking opioids.

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