Teen Prescription Drug Use

When teens are routinely prescribed prescription drugs throughout their young years —

When Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and Meridia may be prescribed for children as young as 6 or 7 and stay prescribed through adulthood —

When prescription drug ads run every hour of every day on every channel —

Then we should not be surprised that teens are abusing prescription drugs in ever-increasing numbers.

Of course our youth would consider them safe. Their parents tell them to take their ADHD medication. The doctor tells them to take the Vicodin or Lortab for the sprain or if they break a bone or have some surgery, they might even get OxyContin. Even their dentist might get into the act, giving them pain medication after an extraction or other dental work. And so they it’s logical that it would be reasonably safe to abuse them recreationally.

In order to balance the scale of opinion with regard to abuse of these drugs, effective drug education must reach students with the data that prescription drugs easily pave the way to abuse of many kinds of drugs and that most of them are addictive. Or that the opiate drugs can cause death by suppressing respiration, especially in combination with alcohol.

For decades, the Narconon drug education curriculum has brought a drug-free message to young people in schools in California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts and many other states. A review of drug use statistics among the students after the curriculum was delivered shows that it wasn’t just opinions that were changed: drug use dropped among students hearing the message. So Narconon schools for drug education results in fewer drug-using adults.

But for the moment, there is plenty of drug education that still needs to happen to lower drug abuse numbers among young people. According to the annual report Monitoring the Future, 13 percent of high school students have abused a narcotic other than heroin, such as OxyContin, Vicodin or Percocet. This number has more than doubled since 1993 and is now at its highest level since the survey started in 1974.

A report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) reported in 2011 that fifteen percent of teens could get prescription drugs from friends if they wanted to get high, and fourteen percent could get them from home (for example, raiding the medicine cabinet). According to CASA, about five percent of high school students abuse sedatives and six percent abuse tranquilizers.


Narconon also provides information on teen prescription drug use. Call us at 800-468-6933 for more information.