Prescription Killers

Jane Boyd, Newspaper EIC

A local teen crushes up OxyContin and inhales it during a house party, a dose that normally takes 12 hours to run through the body, hits all at once leaving the teenager in an euphoric high.

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise for teens due to chasing highs, staying ahead, and self-medication. The National Institute on Drug Abuse categorized the top five reasons teens take prescription drugs not prescribed to them: to fit in, to feel good, to feel better, to do better, to experiment.

The three most commonly abused substances are opioids, depressants, and stimulants. They are often referred to by their ‘street’ names – happy pills, downers, and speed. Some of the abuse of these drugs comes from individuals trying to self-medicate with prescription drugs.

Those who need to calm down might use Xanax for the drugs original purpose, but due to the chemical interaction of the drug, each prescription is based off each person’s specific needs, tolerance, and that person’s neurochemistry. Even taking a drug for its intended use, without the prescription being written to the person taking it, is considered misuse.

Due to false information teens have a false sense of safety. The Foundation for a Drug Free World found “50 percent of  teens believe that prescription drugs are significantly safer than street drugs.” This common belief is leading to the widespread increase of prescription drug abuse.

The Foundation for a Drug Free World found “Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing. Of the 22,400 drug overdose deaths in the US in 2005, opioid painkillers were the most commonly found drug, accounting for 38.2 percent of these deaths.”

Addiction is another common result from prescription drugs. A Castle View senior struggled with an addiction to Morphine for a month and a half during their last term of Sophomore year of high school. This student had gotten the Morphine from “A friend of mine got their hands on a whole bunch. I didn’t ask questions I just knew it said morphine on the bottles” the senior said, “ I would never even tried them in the first place. It wasn’t peer pressure that made me do it, just curiosity. I’d tell my past self that the high wasn’t worth the grades, friendships, and harm to my body it [Morphine] caused.”