Drugs and Alcohol
Drug use is something that may seem so harmless until you can't quit. There are lots of stories out there about what can happen if you start using marijuana, meth, cocaine, ecstasy, prescription pills, and even over the counter drugs like cough syrup or motion sickness pills. Those stories really don't make a difference for many of you. Trying it for yourself may be the only way you learn.
If you have found yourself in a situation that you can't quit or your life is out of control contact us for answers to your questions and help. You may not like the answers you hear but we are here to help you.
There are a number of National studies that have looked at drug abuse among teenagers. Marijuana continues to one of the most commonly used drugs but the new trend appears to be prescription pills. The following statistics is from the Office of National Drug Control. The intentional use of prescription pills, such as sedatives, pain relievers, tranquilizers, and stimulants, is the growing concern in the United States. Prescription drug use among ages 12 - 17 have become the second most illegal drug behind marijuana.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy there are three classes of prescription drugs that are commonly abused:
Teenagers are viewing these drugs as a medically safe high. Teens can find prescription drugs easily from the internet, through e-mail, and also from family and friends. Generally these prescription drugs are easy to get and can be sold or traded for other drugs. Pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin are the most commonly abused drugs by teenagers.
Nearly 1 in 5 teenagers report abusing prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them. One-third of teens believe there is nothing wrong with using prescribed medication (not prescribed to them) once in a while and nearly three out of ten teens believe prescribed pain relievers are not addictive. Nearly one-third of teenagers feel pressure from their peers to abuse prescription and illegal drugs and nine percent admit it is an important part of fitting in.
In 2004, more than 29 percent of teens in treatment were there for prescription drug dependence. In the last decade prescription drug abuse has increased and the number of teens going into treatment has increased by 300 percent. More 12 - 17 year olds than young adults became dependent on or abused prescription drugs in the past year and teens that abuse drugs for the first time before the age of 16 has a greater risk of dependency later in life.
The increasing prescription drug abuse has become alarming. As parents it is our responsibility to make sure we are not making it easy for our teens to get a hold of our medications, to make sure we are cleaning out our medicine closets of all old prescription meds, and to monitor the medication our teen is prescribed making sure they are not selling it or abusing it. So many times teenagers will abuse their own medications or sell them to friends. They will trade them for other street drugs or prescription drugs. Parents should be aware of this trend with teens. It is more difficult to test for prescription drugs which make it easier for teens to abuse. It is our job as parents to educate our teens on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
Alcohol Abuse seems to start at a very early age. The average age of teenage girls who try drinking is 13 and for boys it is around age 11. According to studies done the average American begins drinking at age 15.9 years of age. Alcohol abuse is becoming not only more prevalent among teenagers but also more complex. Society continues to glamorize the lifestyle of drinking. Commercials, TV programs, and movies all portray alcohol as a way to socialize. The harsh reality of alcoholism is not portrayed in the media.
Teenagers that begin drinking are at a much higher risk to develop addiction to alcohol than someone who doesn't begin drinking until after age 21. This is according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Other factors to consider are most teens don't know the effects of alcohol poisoning or how much alcohol is in the differing type of drinks. They are unaware that beer has as much alcohol in one can as does one shot of whiskey. Also teenagers don't understand the harm in mixing a variety of alcohol. There is also the social aspect of drinking.
Teenagers tend to drink with their peers. They are not loners when it comes to drinking. They engage in harmful drinking games, using beer bongs, and seeing who can drink the most the fastest. These games are extremely dangerous and may cause black outs, extreme vomiting, or even death.
Because of the drinking parties, most teens don't notice when a peer has had too much to drink or is intoxicated to the point of needing some help. Many teens may be using other drugs while drinking. This may increase the likelihood of injury or death.
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Cocktailing is simply using more than one different type of drug to enhance or increase the effects of the drug. This has been around for a long time but the combination of drugs and/or alcohol are becoming increasingly more dangerous.
Many teens will use Cocaine with alcohol so they can continue to drink more and longer. Prescription and Over the Counter (OTR) drugs is also becoming more and more common. There are some deadly combinations that can be used. The prescription pill Xanax when used in combination with alcohol increases the liklihood of injury or death.
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Relapse can feel devastating when and if it happens. There is a difference in a full blown relapse and slip up. Understanding the difference can help you not beat up on yourself so much if you have found yourself in this situation.
A slip up is taking a drink or using your drug of choice once or twice. When you used there was regret and you contacted your sponsor or someone you can talk to which helped you get back on track.
A relapse is when you continue using which takes you back to using as much as you were before you quit. Usually, in a relapse you escalate back to the point where your life gets out of control quickly. There are those that may take a few months to get back to that point and may even feel like they have a handle on it and have fixed whatever it was that made it so bad before they quit.
If you or someone you know is in this situation please contact us.