Everyone is doing it. Why not Me?You may think using drugs is okay because you have seen or heard about kids at your school or in your neighborhood who use them. It seems like everyone is doing it and they all seem so cool. So, you use drugs to “fit in” or “belong”.Exposing the Myth: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, information provided to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows declines in teen use of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and steroids over the two decades between 1991 and 2011. What does this mean? Everyone is not using drugs, therefore, you do not have to let peer pressure influence you.
They Will Help Me Perform Better.In today’s competitive American culture, kids feel forced to do well at any and all endeavors they undertake. A desire to see better academic and/or athletic performance may drive youth to experiment with drugs they believe will improve their abilities. Exposing the myth: It’s doubtful that many adolescents are fully aware of the dangers of taking these drugs without a doctor’s recommendation and supervision. Drugs like steroids that are supposed to enhance performance typically come with harsh side effects such as males developing female characteristics as a result of using them. Plus, stimulants which are abused by both adults and adolescents for help with concentration or focus may cause life-threatening conditions such as heart failure.
They Will Help Me Feel Better.According to data from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, many youth end up abusing prescription drugs that are available within the medicine cabinets of their own households, or those of other family members. They see a parent or other relative take psychotropic medications to improve their mood or an opioid narcotic to relieve pain, and they believe they should do the same to feel better, too.Exposing the myth: There are many downsides to adolescents using the prescriptions drugs of family members. Firstly, these drugs were prescribed to one individual whom a doctor has examined and monitored. The specific dosage and chemical makeup of the drug may not function in your body like it might in someone else’s.
I Can Stop When I Want.This is why it’s important to only take medications that are prescribed expressly to you. Lastly, the tendency to rely on substances to get you by and help you feel better puts you at risk for developing life-long dependency issues. Talk to a parent or health professional about more adaptive ways to cope with problems such as depression or anxiety.Don’t allow these myths about adolescent drug use to lead you down a path to long-term drug addiction. Only use prescription drugs after being prescribed them by a licensed physician. If you are already using drugs illicitly, it’s important to get professional help now.
- Trends in the Prevalence of Marijuana, Cocaine and Other Illegal Drug Use: National YRBS: 1991-2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/us_drug_trend_yrbs.pdf;
- “Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research Based Guide; “Why Do Adolescents Take Drugs”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/frequently-asked-questions/why-do-adolescents-take-drugs;
- “Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents (In Brief): When and How Does Drug Abuse Start and Progress”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents-in-brief/chapter-1-risk-factors-protective-factors/when-how-does-drug-abuse-start-progress;
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, “Preventing Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs Fact Sheet”, California Pharmacy, 2010, http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/consumers/parents_preventing_teen_rx_abuse.pdf
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