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Running head: PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE - WHAT IS THIS GROWING1Prescription Drug Abuse - What is This Growing Epidemic Among Teens?Amanda AyersCOM/172July 10, 2013Weatherall
PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE - WHAT IS THIS GROWING2Prescription Drug Abuse - What is This Growing Epidemic Among Teens?According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy within the White House, prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, among people aged 12 and older, following marijuana [Off11]. In todays’ society, as well as past years, prescription drug abuse continues to be overlooked; however, due to recent studies showing a specific increase in teenage drug abuse, society has been forced to face a growing epidemic. With this epidemic, in turn with the new renowned attention, society now finds itself wondering just what are these prescription medications, what are the risks associated, and simply, what can be done to help. Researchers have come to find that some of this rise is due to the misunderstanding that since it is medication prescribed by a physician, it cannot be harmful. In reality, prescription drugs can be just as serious if not deadlier, than illegal drugs when used recreationally. So, just what are these medications that are contributing to this growing epidemic among our younger generation? Currently, there are three types of prescription drugs being abused. Opioids, CNS depressants, and Stimulants. Opioids are typical pain relievers; Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Morphine, and Codeine. These medications can be given in situations as mild as dental work, to more severe cases involving surgeries. NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) estimates 1.9 million people in the US meet abuse or dependence criteria for opioids [Nat11]. These types of prescription medications attach to proteins found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract and reduce the feeling of pain. This causes people toexperience a euphoric feeling because the drug affects the brain regions that control reward. When people abuse these types of prescriptions they are doing so with the intention to intensify that euphoric feeling. Prescription opioids act on the same receptors in the brain as heroin.