No mother sends her children to school thinking they will get mixed in with the wrong crowd and end up using drugs. No father leaves his prescription medication on the bathroom sink with the intention of it being abused by his teenage child. No parent should have to watch their child struggle with addiction, but this is a reality many parents and family members know all too well.
Battling a Substance Abuse Disorder
90 percent of those battling a substance abuse disorder as adults started using drugs under the age of 18, and half of those were under the age of 15. With alcohol being the most abused drug by adolescents, marijuana and prescription drugs follow closely behind. While many parents and drug abuse prevention programs are covering the effects and dangers of abusing alcohol, marijuana, and illicit drugs such as heroin, meth, and cocaine, they fail to remind their kids of the dangers of new and even legal drugs. Some common drugs that are often abused by teenagers include prescription drugs and synthetic marijuana.
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2012, 7.6% of all 12th graders misused Adderall, followed closely by 7.5% who abused Vicodin. The most shocking statistic in regards to prescription drug abuse among teenagers is the fact that 65% of teens who abuse these prescription drugs get these drugs from family members and friends. Many teens believe these drugs are not as harmful as illicit drugs, but this is far from the reality. Prescription drugs, if abused, are just as addictive, dangerous, and deadly as drugs such as heroin, meth, and cocaine.
Marijuana “The Gateway Drug”
Another drug that should be on the top of every parent’s discussion list is synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana, known as Spice or K2, is now a new concern for parents as its abuse among teenagers continues to rise. In 2012, 11.3 percent of 12th graders reported using synthetic marijuana, followed closely by 8.8 percent of 10th graders and 4.4 percent of 8th graders reporting use. There has also been an increase in emergency room visits linked with the use of synthetic marijuana. There were 11,406 emergency room visits associated with synthetic marijuana in 2010. Of these visits, 75% were adolescents and young adults ages 12-29.
Adding to the list of driving lessons, safe sex, and college preparation, it is now time for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of drug abuse before they learn it from the wrong person. Parents should take the time to educate themselves in order to effectively educate their children about the dangers of drug abuse and the horrifying reality of addiction.
Many parents will bury their teenagers due to a drug-related or drug-induced death, wondering if they did all they could to prevent this heartbreaking tragedy.