The authors write:
“Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse. Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription abuse.
Male teens with a high need to be popular and teens in general appear to be at exceptional risk. Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs.”
Additionally, reports to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicate that about 20% of teenagers try prescription drugs each year. It was found that drugs are acquired from friends and family with legal prescriptions, often without them knowing.
The large portion of teen prescription drug abuse is directly due to the lack of stigma from the FDA that illicit drugs have. “Prescription drugs are seen as blessed by a trusted institution, the FDA, while increasingly aggressive advertising by drug companies simultaneously floods parents and children with messages that these substances are safe, popular, and beneficial,” write the authors.
The New York Times published a damning editorial on this subject, concluding that advertisements for pharmaceuticals are everywhere purporting that every ill has a pill to cure it, leading to indiscriminate prescribing by doctors.
It would seem that organizations leading the way in the battle against prescription drug abuse have a fight on their hands.