Teen Girl Being Treated For Substance Abuse

Certain Prescription Medications for Teens May Contribute to Teen Substance Abuse

prescription medication for teens, teen substance abuseSome prescription medications for teens can contribute to teen substance abuse, and a new study expands on the medications that can have this effect. Narcotic pain medications have long been known to cause substance abuse among all ages, but a new study shows that drugs prescribed to teens for anxiety or sleep problems also raises the risks considerably. The study findings show that all teens should be assessed for substance abuse risks before these medications are given even if they are designed for very short term use. The lead researcher of the study, University of Michigan School of Nursing Professor Carol Boyd, explains “Prescribers and parents don’t realize the abuse potential. These drugs produce highly attractive sensations, and adolescents may start seeking the drugs after their prescriptions run out.”

The teen substance abuse study on prescription medications for teens covered a 3 year period, and it involved over 2,700 students in middle school and high school. The students were all from the Detroit area, and close to 9% had received a prescription for anxiety or sleep problems at some point. The medications that were prescribed for the students included Ambien, Xanax, Restoril, Valium, Lunesta, or Klonopin. The study can be found in the online journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, the November 24 edition. According to Professor Boyd “This is a wake-up call to the medical community as far as the risks involved in prescribing these medications to young people. When taken as prescribed, these drugs are effective and not dangerous. The problem is when adolescents use too many of them or mix them with other substances, especially alcohol.”

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