Teens And Drug Abuse

About seven years ago I started researching prescription drug use and bullying in schools because I wondered whether there was an association with drug use and bullying? In fact, new studies show there is a new trend that I was unaware of. I would venture to say this is not new, but rather someone finally took the time to find out.

A study done by Heather Clayton, a Health scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that teens who misuse painkillers (opioids) are prone to initiating or being victims of DATING VIOLENCE. The researchers found in a study of 10,000 teenagers who dated in the past year, non-medical use of prescription drugs by boys was associated with sexual dating violence. Non-medical use of prescription drugs by girls was linked more often with physical dating violence. These kids who experience dating violence are more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using drugs, tobacco and drinking alcohol and be involved in antisocial behavior and thinking about suicide.
The CDC researchers analyzed data on more than 5,100 boys and 5,300 girls in grades 9 to 12, who had participated in dating in the year before the survey. The teens were asked how many times in the past year they had taken a prescription drug – such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax – without a doctor’s prescription. Seventeen percent stated they had used in their lifetime and 6% stated they had used in the past year on a regular basis. Parents, do you still think your child is perfect? You may think these are low numbers, but do you really want to take the chance your kids are within the margin?
Nobody raises their hand when were little kids and say, “I want to be a drug addict when I grow up.”  I will stand by what I’ve always said which is that everybody uses drugs for a reason and the reasons vary. Quite often it’s because we just like it. Some are medical reasons, but most are because we are trying to hide something or forget something. Sometimes the guilt of what we have done or what has happened to us are too much to bare and the only way to escape is to use something that will temporarily makes us forget. Then we wind up in world that we feel has no escape. We can hide and mask the drug use for a while, but it always winds up badly, and moms and dads are always the last to know. That’s because you don’t want to know or can’t believe your child is using drugs. Please remember, the United States uses 99% of the world’s Vicodin supply, and as of April 27, 2016, Americans consume 80% of all of the world’s opiate supply. Do you think it’s just everyone over the age of 18? By the time your kid gets to college, the chances of them using drugs almost triples. Let’s don’t forget the young man who just died at the fraternity house here in Fresno just three weeks ago. Do you think his parents knew he was walking around with 583 Xanax pills in his pocket? Do you really think they were all for his personal use? Most likely he was selling them! Common sense tells us this. By the way, he was 19, do you really think he started his drug use at 19? Of course not, more than likely it started in high school or even junior high.
A lot of these tragedies can be avoided by one simple fact: Parents knowing what their kids are doing. To do this, parents need to get in their business big time, drug test them when you suspect drug use, and don’t believe everything they tell you. If you don’t do these things you will probably wind up in my office at some point and then the fun really begins…come to one of our parent meetings and ask these families  how much fun they have had dealing with their kids addiction! 

Nik Ashjian