Abuse of prescription drugs on the rise

Lauren Curmi

The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and causing some raised eyebrows among top officials. The top drugs of choice are Vicodin, Oxycontin and Xanax with users ranging from teenagers to top executes to suburban moms and dads.

Kristin Smith, a staff member of NBC 10, reported that the latest study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showed that more teenagers are now experimenting with prescription painkillers than have given ecstasy, cocaine, crack or LSD a try.

MTV news reported that a study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America revealed that 1 in 5 people between the ages of 12 and 17 reported using prescription pain killers at least once in the past year. This survey of 7,300 students revealed that approximately 4.4 million teens nationwide are abusing such drugs as Vicodin.

Teens also abuse stimulants such as Ritalin, with 1 in 10 admitting such usage. These drugs are easily accessible. Teenagers need not search farther than a friend or parent’s medicine cabinet. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that long-term use of these drugs can lead to a physical dependency and outright addiction. Also, many teens tend to mix these drugs with alcohol. This combination could be lethal.

This problem is not confined to the adolescent population. Such shows as Oprah have drawn attention to the upper middle class’ abuse of prescription drugs. With the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration working desperatly to crack down on internet drug sales, time will only tell if this problem will improve.

However, with so many people using these drugs for medical reasons, one does not have to venture far for for a quick fix. One’s sister or brother may use ritalin for their ADD or one’s mom or dad could be on a painkiller. Therefore, these drugs are easily accessible to anyone desperate enough to snoop through the house to get some.

Prescription drug abuse is an issue that needs to be continually readressed in order to encourage change.