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Prescription Drug Abuse Amongst Teenagers HEALTH INSURANCE AND Social Good care Essay


This project is designed to illustrate the effects of prescription and over the counter drug abuse. You won't only show a comparison between the effects of illicit drugs and prescription medications but it will also serve to show the significance of the prevalence and effects of prescription drug abuse.

"There can be an erroneous perception that because they are medicines, whether prescribed by medical doctors or over-the-counter, that they are safer, " explained by Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Kheun, 2007). Young adults and adults have the concept that prescription or higher the counter drugs aren't damaging even if consumed in extreme doses. This is because of the fact that they are legal and are manufactured and created by pharmaceutical and medical professionals. This is quite contradictory because it has been observed by analysts (Ford & Rivera 2008) these drugs, when abused have very serious and even fatal consequences. Some of which include increased heartrate, hallucinations and other alterations in mental state. Though not highly publicized, these "every day" drugs such as Ritalin, OxyContin, Vicodin and Dexedrine can cause all of the above mentioned symptoms (Arkes & Iguchi 2008).

The work of research in this field however, will not parallel the gravity of the situation and it's been noted from the International Narcotics Control Plank that prescription medications are about to become as much of a challenge as illicit drugs (Zarcosta, 2008). Nevertheless, little if any research has been done in this field of prescription substance abuse and the seriousness of its results as it relates to teens and young adults. With the research that this subject so rightfully deserves, all susceptible persons (young individuals, parents, professors and health care providers) should become aware of the next:

The types and types of prescription drugs commonly abused.

Ways where these prescription drugs can be abused.

Who reaches a higher threat of prescription drug abuse?

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse.

The consequential ramifications of abusing prescription drugs.

Avenues in which you can seek help because of this type of substance abuse.

This project's intention therefore is to provide enlightenment on each one of these areas, create understanding on the relevant and ubiquitous problem of prescription drug abuse and most notably research the consequences of prescription substance abuse.


Abuse of prescription drugs is as unsafe as the utilization of illicit drugs.


This research will take on both forms of qualitative and quantitative designs therefore it will be a mixed design. It will be qualitative to be able to include statistics about the prevalence of prescription substance abuse. Nonetheless it will quantitative to be able to add reasons and effects of prescription substance abuse on adults.


While rates of illicit substance abuse among young adults in the U. S continue steadily to decline, abuse of prescription drugs in this generation is increasing at an alarmingly higher rate. Recent anonymous survey results show that the one atlanta divorce attorneys 10 senior high school seniors had used the painkiller Vicodin within the last year with out a doctor's orders (Arkes & Iguchi, 2008 as cited by Johnston, O'Malley, Bachmen &Schulenberg, 2004). Despite the fact that, there exists research done on the prevalence, causes and risk factors associated with prescription drug abuse, there's a lack of information on the effects. The purpose of this books review is to provide sufficient information for experts to carry out further research on the effects on the prescription drug abuse. This literature review will make clear the following theme questions:

How widespread is prescription substance abuse?

What will be the major causes/reasons of prescription drug abuse?

Who is at an increased risk?

How prevalent is prescription drug abuse?

The abuse of prescription drugs in the USA is an evergrowing problem. Prescription drug abuse is as prevalent as the misuse of illicit drugs. There has been a significant climb in the nonmedical use of prescription drugs in the US within the last 15 years. In 2004, an estimate of 2. 4 million Americans aged 12 years or aged initiated prescription opioid abuse within days gone by year, which exceeded those who have been abusing against the law drugs like cocaine ( 1 million) or marijuana ( 2. 1 million) ( McCabe, S. E. , Western, B. T. , Morales, M. , Cranford, J. A. , & Boyd, C. J. , 2007). The argument as to whether prescription drug abuse is as prevalent as illegal drug abuse is interesting and. The commonly abused prescription medications are painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, opioids and stimulants (Levy, M. S. , 2007).

In america, the misuse of prescription medications especially opioids is a significant health concern. In 2005 a report was completed and it was discovered that about 227, 000 Us citizens were abusing and highly reliant on illicit drugs like heroine whereas 1. 5 million Americans abused and were highly dependent on prescription opioids (Wu, Li-Tzy, Blazer, D. G. , Stitzer, M. L. , Patkar, A. A. , & Blaine, J. D. , 2008) Also, in 2006, it was proven that the nonmedical use of prescription drugs especially pain relievers actually surpassed that of illicit drugs. (Wisley et al)There has also been an alarming increase in the number of fatalities associated with unintentional overdoses of prescription drugs in comparison to those of unlawful drugs. Statistics declare that in 2002 it was proven that the amount of fatal heroine poisonings increased by 12. 4% while shockingly the number of fatal opioid analgesic poisonings increased by 91. 2% in the same society (Wunsch, M. J. , Nakamoto, K. , Behonick, G. , & William, M. , 2009). This information further concretes the actual fact that there surely is a drastic increase in prescription drug abuse.

Statistics in 2001 reveal that roughly 3 million youths aged 12 to 17 and almost 7 million adults aged 18 to 25 years had misused prescription drugs in their life-time. (Kelly, B. C. , & Parsons, J. T. , 2007).

In bottom line, prescription substance abuse is on an alarming increase among the youth. With this increase, come various causes that will affect one to get started abusing prescription drugs.


1. Prevalence- Existing very commonly

2. Mistreatment- Use of a medication to get pleasure, or even to improve a person's performance of a task, or because a person cannot stop deploying it.

3. Dependence- To need something all the time especially in order to keep existing or functioning.

4. Prescription drugs- Also called over-the-counter drugs.

What will be the major triggers/reasons of prescription substance abuse?

With how you are raised and other surroundings, one develops principles that in turn influence personal alternatives. Despite the fact that most illegal drugs are accessible (Califano, 2002 as cited by Finley, 2007), an increasing number of youth would prefer to use prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes. Within an article by Youth Trade, 2005 (cited by Finley, 2007) Students in high colleges and colleges are having 'pharming' people, where they change responsibility for bringing the prescription drugs. This in-turn makes them appear 'cool' and up-to-date with the changing times as another teenager had discussed once her school mates discovered that she acquired prescription drugs.

Some choose to use prescription medications out of boredom, quite often along with illegal drugs, with others choosing to use Ritalin as a stimulant since it works like caffeine containing drinks. Others actually think that since prescriptions drugs are safe to use under prescription, then it must be safe for the kids without doctor's requests. In the event analysis by Finley (2007) as mentioned by Birhanemaskel (2005) prescription drugs do not have the give-away smell as cannabis, yet supply the same effects; more youth favor prescription medications to get high. This thought is normally upheld by girls making them less prone to use pot. Also young females choose to use prescription medications because of the expectation that they might help them lose fat thus fitting in better with the other females (Monarch Avalon, 2005 as cited by Finley, 2007).

In a study (Lankenau et al. , 2007), individuals gave experiences of how their first experience of non-medicinal use of prescription medications. One man brought up that his first prescription medication was Ritalin which he used to help him stay up so he could be able to study. He'd then use Xanax to help him fall asleep. This all helped keep balance of his institution, athletics and communal life. Another scholar stated that he started using prescription medications to find the same feeling of a heroin high by taking 2 Xanax pills and liquor together when he was curbing his heroin cravings. Also, some accepted to using Adderall as they were cheap; each tablet was about $0. 90. Finley (2007) also advised that having parents that use prescription drugs to help them get right up each day could also encourage young adults to recreationally use prescription drugs. By parents allowing young adults to take cough syrups, for example, and not inquire about shows ignorance and leniency which leaves the teenager to trust there is nothing at all wrong with misuse of prescription drug abuse (Gavin, 2004).

Even with these significant triggers, some youth are at more 'seduced' to prescription drugs than others.

Who reaches a higher risk?

Teens themselves being very susceptible to prescription drug abuse have certain factors which could put them at a straight higher risk. These include teens:

1. A history drug abuse.

The quest for more pleasure, diminished anxiety, the rest of time, quickening of perception, deepening mythic understanding will be the major reasons why teens regularly use substances like illicit alcohol and drugs and before they realize, they get addicted. It becomes practically impossible for them to live without getting high or feeling highly ecstatic.

The addiction rises to an degree that they learn to engage in against the law activities to acquire these chemicals.

However, now they have got found a new 'legal' way to get this done. As stated, prescription medications are much much easier to obtain and less expensive than other chemicals. Teens with a history of substance abuse use this as an advantage and now they may have an easier methods to get high. The gross annual study by the National Institute on SUBSTANCE ABUSE, conducted by the University of Michigan, showed as many as one in every 14 high school elderly people said they used frigid medicine "fairly recently" to get high. A student, during a analysis that included an in-depth interview conducted by Lankenau, S. E. et. al said, "[My mom] used to get a good deal of [OxyContin] and she'd just bring them home and I'd view it all organized. You take 20 milligrams and its like dope [heroin]. It's really like dope. "

2. With Adverse childhood experiences.

Adverse Childhood experiences are common and destructive. It offers maltreatment (physical, mental or sexual), neglect, local assault and other varieties of serious and interrelated home dysfunction. They are able to determine the health and well-being of your person. The associated problems are agonizing to identify and difficult to handle.

The study by Anda, R. A et. al shows a direct relationship between undesirable childhood experience and prescription substance abuse. Teens with undesirable childhood experiences may have thoughts of helplessness, chaos, and impermanence and could have problems self-regulating affective says. Thus, prescription drug abuse may serve as an avenue to escape or dissociate from the immediate psychological pain, anxiousness, anger that likely accompany such encounters.

3. Homeless junior.

A common stereotype of the homeless human population is that they are all alcoholics or medicine abusers. The truth is that a raised percentage of homeless people do have a problem with substance abuse but addictions should be viewed as health issues and need a great deal of treatment, counseling and support to triumph over. Drug abuse is both a cause and due to homelessness, often arising after people lose their property. (Drug abuse and homelessness, July 2009).

People who are homeless often utilize drugs and alcohol to handle their situations. They use substances in an attempt to attain temporary rest from their problems. Together with the increasing use/prevalence of prescription substance abuse over other substances, the homeless inhabitants is also needs to use more prescription medications. Lankenau, S. E. et. al and Sander, B et. al demonstrated a high percentage of prescription drug abuse among the homeless from other studies.

In conclusion, there may be a large variety of youth abusing prescription drugs for various reasons. This number is swiftly increasing especially amongst the sample time with the major causes and risk factor highlighted above. The easy convenience, inexpensiveness and the fact that prescription drugs are safe to use has led to the youngsters change their regular use of illicit drug to prescription drug as their methods to get high, to fit in and in their struggle to balance their sociable and academic life. Even though, the junior themselves are an extremely prone society for prescription drug abuse, there are certain risk factors which will make them more prone. This includes a history of substance abuse, adverse childhood activities and the homeless youngsters. Researchers throughout the world should think about the severity of the prevalence and its serious effects. Further research must be conducted on the consequences and ways to control and prevent prescription drug abuse.


The following are the data gathering musical instruments that will be utilized in this job.

Questionnaires: This is a combined questionnaire that will contain a series of thirty (30) close ended and open ended questions. The questionnaire will be of a set up non disguised format where the respondent will be informed of the purpose of collecting the info. The data will then be quantified.

Interviews: These will consist of personal interviews that are discussions between an interviewer and an interviewee to be able to obtain in-depth information in regards to a particular concern or research question. The interviews will take the unstructured format.

Focus Organizations: This involves a group of participants who reveal their thoughts ideas and feelings on a particular topic. Hence the parents/guardians and the junior will be allowed this time expressing themselves.

Observations: This is a study method used to give an objective view on the verbal and nonverbal behaviours of the members. Hence the interviewees will be viewed by this method.


Surveying: The questionnaire will be allocated randomly to various educational corporations. The actual circulation of the questionnaires within the academic institutions will be done by the school administration. They will have approximately seven days to administer and accumulate all questionnaires which will then be accumulated by the relevant authorities.

Interviews: Private interviews will be placed with patients of selected Drug Addiction Rehab Centers at the guts itself.

Focus Teams: This will likely be presented with the parents/guardians and health care providers of the patients.

Observations: While they are simply interviewed the same patients will be viewed by well respected psychiatrists/psychologist via a one way reflection. Also the manners of the patients will be observed for approximately fourteen days by the same psychiatrists/psychologists.


In this project random sampling will be used. Six rehabilitation centers for element abusers will be arbitrarily decided on. Sixteen individuals (eight men and eight females) within this band of thirteen to eighteen (13-18) and sixteen individuals (eight guys and eight females) within this group of eighteen to 25 (18-25) will be utilized. Eight academic institutions will be randomly selected in which one hundred and sixty questionnaires will be sent out. Eighty will be allocated to students within this band of 12-15 ( forty for females and forty for guys). The rest of the eighty will be sent out to students between your age group of 16-18(forty for females and forty for men).


With each research, there are several ethical considerations. The following is a set of the moral concerns considered in this research:

Before an individual becomes a participant, he/she will be fully enlightened of the seeks, methods, harms, and advantages of the research: Each participant has the right to be fully enlightened about the study project where he/she will be possibly engaging, so that he/she has a full understanding of the task. If participants encounters any harm during the analysis, however, he/she will be compensated.

The individual gets the right of voluntary contribution. Individuals will not be coerced to participate in the research task as participation will be purely voluntary. This includes bribery offers, intimidating or almost any direct/ indirect stresses.

He/she has the right to terminate his/her contribution anytime. Participants will not be forced to keep with the project if he/she selects to get rid of his/her participation, neither will he/she be chastise for not continuing with the task. If the reason behind terminating his/her is because of physical or internal harm, participants will be compensated.

The confidentiality of his/her responses. The information compiled will never be distributed around any persons who are not directly involved in study. Everything will be retained in a vault where only the principal investigator will know the blend.

He/she remains private throughout research: Participants will never be required to place their brands on the questionnaires and if it's done, the questionnaire will be disregarded.

The teenager will never be allowed to participate without his/her parent's consent. Any young ones who's under 21 years old (21) will never be interviewed unless there is written consent from his/her father or mother.


The expected results of this research proposal are the following:

There is a greater than expected prevalence of prescription drug abuse.

It is just as effortless to get dependent on prescription drugs as it is to get addicted to illicit drugs.

The ramifications of prescription substance abuse can be as detrimental as the consequences of illicit substance abuse.


The research study was aimed to discover the consequences of prescription substance abuse and incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative method consisted of questionnaires as the qualitative consisted of focus categories, interviews and observation methods. The sample would consist of students between your age groups 13-18 and patients of rehabilitation centers age ranges 18-25. The delimitations of the task were the number of schools, the number of rehabilitation centers and the number of individuals from which information would be accumulated. It would provide to bridge the distance of the insufficient research on the consequences of prescription substance abuse and also as an informative tool to the culture.

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