The Drug Class Blog

Mar 17

More On Rx Drugs

Right across the country the problem of teens abusing presciption medications continues to increase.  I have talked to several teens this week who have "tried" oxy or morphine in the last week. They know it is dangerous but like most things they just wanted to see what it was like. 

This isn't just happening in the "druggie" crowd.  

Parents and teachers realy need to talk to their kids and help them understand that this type of experimentaion is a bad idea.  These drugs are easy to overdose on particularly when used in conjunction with alcohol.  There are also highly addictive and many teens are turning up in detox centres trying to deal with there newest problem.

Here is an article from the Telgraph-Journal.


Teens-in-detox figures soar Published Wednesday March 16th, 2011

Drugs: Officials say most youths addicted to prescription painkillers are taking them recreationally on weekends.


A disturbing trend involving teen drug use has hit Ridgewood Addiction Services. Last year its detox program treated five times the number of teenagers it did the year before - most of them addicted to prescription painkillers. ENLARGE PHOTO Getty Images The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed at a Massachusetts drugstore. Teenagers are becoming addicted to the powerful painkiller and to another painkiller called Dilaudid. "We thought it was a blip. But it certainly is increasing and it hasn't diminished," said Cynthia Boyd, who manages the Saint John-area drug and alcohol treatment centre. "We still don't know what to attribute it to." The numbers have skyrocketed since 2008, when nine youths aged 19 and under were admitted to the detox program. In 2009, there were 13 admissions, and last year that number ballooned to 65. The numbers are still high this year, with five admissions in January - all of them abusing opiates - and seven admissions in February, with six of those opiate abusers, Boyd said. "We're disturbed by it," she said, adding an informal survey of other provincial detox sites have shown the jump is unique to the Saint John region. Youth addictions workers are also seeing the trend, said Annette Harland, manager of child and youth services in Saint John, and the manager of addictions and mental health services in Charlotte County. School principals or guidance counsellors can call in the addiction workers to deal with issues around drugs or alcohol. But they often don't discover the issues with harder drugs - including addictive painkillers such as Dilaudid and OxyContin - until a more in-depth assessment, she said. "They're absolutely seeing an increase in occasional recreational use on the weekends," Harland said. The youth addiction workers are concerned, she said, because parents don't seem to be aware this is happening. They have been educated over years on softer drugs and alcohol, she said, but not opiate abuse. "This is a new phenomenon. And parents are not aware of it," she said. Saint John police have warned parents that ecstasy laced with the addictive methamphetamine has also appeared in area schools, as drug dealers reach out to an increasingly younger demographic. Sgt. John Wilcox, of the street crimes unit, also said he's noticed the city's addicts get younger all the time. Both Harland and Boyd said there's a perception opiates aren't dangerous because the drugs are prescribed, with a real purpose in the medical world. But leftover painkillers are also left in household medicine cabinets, which could easily be picked up by curious teens, eager to share with their friends. "We're asking people to monitor if these kinds of painkillers are in your house, and if you're not using them anymore, give them back to the pharmacy and they'll dispose of them," Boyd said. With teenagers using the prescription painkillers "recreationally" on the weekends - either intravenously or by ingestion - it doesn't take long for the addictive qualities to take their grip. "It all starts innocently enough," Boyd said. "No one ever thinks that's going to happen to them." The influx in teen addicts has not affected wait times at Ridgewood too much, Boyd said. No one would ever be turned away from the 20-bed detox facility, but they may have a short wait. Treatment differs for youths, who may not have done the same physical damage to their bodies as adult drug addicts. The focus is on the social side of removing drugs from a person's life, with lots of group work, talking about skills and saying no to friends, Boyd said. Methadone, a prescribed substance to control cravings for opiate abusers, is not actually the preferred treatment for a young person, she said, adding Ridgewood uses other medical treatments. When teens leave the facility, they may have a major adjustment to make, including changing their friends, their scene and repairing family relationships. But Harland said parents need to start having open conversations with their teenagers about drugs. "When we try to keep a blind eye to it, it exasperates the issue. Creating opportunities for open and honest conversation is critical."

What do you think?

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