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by | Addiction, Featured


The rise of prescription drug related deaths in teens was inevitable – pulsing its way through many areas of the country, far reaching into even the smallest town parishes of the South. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention performed a 2009 study; results uncovered that nearly one in five high school students have abused prescription drugs at least once during their lifetime.  The sheer accessibility and false sense of security among teens that prescription drugs are far less harmful than so called “street drugs” such as marijuana, cocaine and even heroine, has ravaged many lives. Overdose rates have doubled in over 23 states, therefore increasing by less than one-third in the Northeast and West regions.  With the alarming increase of pill abuse, the South and Midwest regions have more than doubled. West Virginia has displayed the largest increase topping 550 percent.
Basically, the dramatic increases in drug overdose fatalities is not being driven by illegal drug use in the inner cities; it’s being fueled by prescription drug abuse in middle-class, white rural America.  The idea generated by most is that prescriptions drugs, used in the proper manner are there to cure those in need, however with the increase of “script doctors” pushing and pressuring prescriptions on unsuspecting parents and teens as well as the rise in diagnoses of ADD, ADHD and anxiety disorders have propelled a new generation into a war against the abuse of Adderall, Ritalin and Ativan.
My own experience with prescription drug abuse came as a young adult.  I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall as a part of a treatment program to control those symptoms…..I quickly became addicted.  My alcohol abuse increased as well. The lack of knowledge on the part of myself and my parents in the area of addiction created a perfect storm and could have most certainly ended in death.  The over compensation of alcohol to curb the speedy effects of the Adderall was augmented by my inability to balance my elevated tolerance to the pills that were continually being handed to me without question or appropriate management on my doctor’s part.
Most rural areas are lost on the proper awareness and education needed to stamp out the growing abuse of drugs such as:

  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Demerol
  • Dilaudid
  • Morphine
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Aderrall
  • Vyvance

The absence of funding also proves to be an issue in the fight against adolescent substance abuse in rural America.  The amount of teenagers abusing medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has increased by 76 percent since 2002, this according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.
The combination of prescription drugs and alcohol proves fatal in most cases; being the number one cause in accidental overdoses in more teens than car accidents in recent years.  Again the ease in which the prescription drugs can be obtained is lending itself to an ever growing epidemic.  Unattended medicine cabinets, purses, unmanaged prescription abuse, abuse by professionals; the faith we once put in our doctors is long gone……the concept that “doctor knows best” has led many down a path of destruction, addiction and death.  We no longer live in an era where one can truly trust that we are in “good hands”, the pills that we have proactively used for pain management and pain relief, depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders have become one of our countries new enemies! Infiltrating the very lives of our children and young adults as the new way to “get high”, superseding the illicit street drug.  The delicate nature of the situation is we are so socialized into believing that pills answer all our problems whatever they may be, we as a nation must be on alert and can no longer turn a blind eye to an addiction that has been magnified as much as four hundred percent since 1998.
By Nicole Ladin