Originally published November 1 2015
Just say no: FDA-approved drugs causing an epidemic among teens, while marijuana kills no one
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that more Americans are dying from legally prescribed drugs than from heroine and cocaine, combined (and from marijuana, of course, which doesn't kill), classifying the situation as an "epidemic."
As reported by The New American (TNA), worse is that a study by the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, published earlier this year, reported that teenagers remain especially vulnerable to prescription drugs because they have been programmed to believe that pharmaceuticals are "blessed by a trusted institution" — the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The study was was authored by multiple researchers — Richard Netemeyer of the University of Virginia, Scot Burton of the University of Arkansas, Barbara Delaney of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Gina Hijjawi of American Institutes for Research. According to the study, more than 1,000 teenagers from 40 regions around the U.S. participated in an online survey that asked them about their use of tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, and alcohol.
The findings were alarming.
Self-diagnosing, self-medicatingResearchers discovered that prescription drug use was higher for teens who were struggling with issues like low self-confidence and anxiety. Additional motivators for increased use included a desire to be more popular, the pressure to be a good teenager or a desire to use illegal and banned substances. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids notes further that teens who look for ways to feel better about themselves often view prescription drugs as a safer alternative to drugs they could buy on the street.
TNA also noted that surveys from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that about one in five teens said they have taken a prescription drug without it actually having been prescribed to them; five percent said they abused over-the-counter cough medicine just to get a buzz.
"Teens don't understand that if you misuse prescription drugs you're still abusing drugs. Just because it's not a street drug doesn't mean it's not abuse," said Alexandria Ybarra, campus executive director of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
Describing the age group as "Generation RX," the group said that technology has made it much easier for teens to self-diagnose and then self-prescribe medications, all based on Internet research.
"Sometimes students or teens will get prescribed large quantities of medication and they may not use it all and they don't know how to get rid of them... They might give them to friends who have self-diagnosed themselves with a certain disorder," Ybarra said.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids further notes that most of the teens in that age group are gaining access to prescriptions at home, from their parents or other family members.
"If there is a bottle of pills, a teen might think, 'Why not try it?' There is going to be that temptation," Ybarra stated.
Not just limited to one generationRegarding the "epidemic" of prescription drugs, the CDC, on its website, noted :
"The United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic.
"Since 1999, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report. Overprescribing leads to more abuse and more overdose deaths."
Earlier this year, the agency also reported that doctors have been prescribing psychiatric meds for school-aged children at eye-popping rates.
"Unfortunately, evidence reveals that abuse of prescription drugs is potentially more fatal than the use of illegal substances. Data from the CDC show 23,000 deaths in 2013 resulting from pharmaceutical abuse, which amounts to more than half the overdose limits in the United States that same year," TNA reported.
What's more, the damage from overuse of prescription drugs is not limited to this generation.
"Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2013," the CDC reports, adding, "Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes. From 1999 to 2013, the amount of painkillers, called opioids, prescribed and sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled and overdose deaths have quadrupled in lock-step."
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