Teen Painkiller Abuse: Are We Doing Enough to Prevent It?

Prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults is on the rise, due in large part to the increasing availability of these medications, and the attitudes and misconceptions of these young people. Equipped with up-to-date information about prescription drug addiction and helpful prevention techniques, however, parents can reduce the risk of painkiller abuse in their homes. If you believe your teen is abusing prescription painkillers, call (877) 467-8363 to speak to the addiction recovery counselors at A Forever Recovery today.

Addictive Pills List

Teenagers may start misusing prescription drugs for any number of reasons: they want to fit in, they think the drugs will help them sleep better or stay awake to study, they heard that the drugs may help them lose weight. Sadly, teens who are prescribed pain medications after sustaining a sports injury, or who pop a pill that’s being passed around at a party can develop a dependency on the drug relatively quickly, and from there, prescription drug addiction is just steps away. The following is a list of abused pills in the painkiller category:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyFast)
  • Oxycodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab)
  • Oxycodone with naloxone (Targiniq ER)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq, Fentora)
  • Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER)
  • Hydromorphone (Exalgo, Dilaudid)
  • Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Prescription Drug Abuse

The most common misconception about prescription drugs is that because a doctor prescribed the pills, they must be safe, or at least safer than illicit drugs. In studies, teens even report believing their parents would be less angry if they caught them abusing prescription drugs rather than street drugs. And while 80% of teens say their parents talked to them about alcohol and marijuana in the past year, and 30% of cocaine, less than 15% say their parents ever had a conversation with them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. According to the MetLife Foundation and The Partnership at DrugFree.org, recreational use of prescription drugs among teenagers skyrocketed 33% from 2008 to 2013, with one in four teens reporting misuse of a prescription medication, sometimes from their own parents’ medicine cabinet. Think about your own kids and how easily accessible the drugs in your medicine cabinet are. Are you doing enough to prevent prescription painkiller abuse in your own home?

Recreational Painkillers Symptoms and Prevention

While addicted adults are often practiced at hiding their drug abuse from the people around them, teenagers are less so, and it may become obvious to family and friends of a teen abusing prescription painkillers that something isn’t right. Some warning signs of prescription drug abuse to watch out for include:

  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in personal appearance or hygiene
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Sudden change in performance at school
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Pupils smaller or larger than usual

The unfortunate truth is that kids who start abusing drugs when they are young are more likely to struggle with an addiction problem as adults, which is why it’s incredibly important that parents make an effort to talk to their children about the risks of recreational painkillers. There are simple steps parents can take to prevent teen painkiller abuse at home, including disposing of medications that are expired or no longer needed, storing medications somewhere other than the family medicine cabinet, and monitoring the number of pills they have left, just to name a few. It’s also important to know who your kids are hanging out with, make sure they feel safe talking about what’s going on in their lives, and encourage them to make smart decisions about drugs.

A Forever Recovery Can Help

Sometimes being open with your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse can keep them from misusing medications, and sometimes even taking all the precautions in the world can’t prevent it from happening. If your teenager is exhibiting signs of painkiller abuse, early intervention is the key to recovery. Contact the substance abuse experts at A Forever Recovery today by calling (877) 467-8363, to learn about the prescription drug treatment options for teens and young adults.


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