Understanding “Generation Rx”

What causes today’s teens to abuse prescription drugs to get high? Among the factors are a series of misconceptions, lack of information, and a carefree attitude toward the risks involved in using prescription medicines improperly.

Why do kids abuse prescription drugs?

  • They are seeking psychological or physical pleasure.
  • They want to fit in with groups of friends and are in search of acceptance and bonding.
  • They do not realize the risks of taking medicines that have not been prescribed specifically for them or the danger of not following a prescription’s directions.
  • It is easier to get prescription drugs than illegal drugs.

Teens may believe the following misconceptions such as:

  • Prescription medicines are much safer to use than illegal drugs.
  • Prescription pain relievers cannot be addictive.
  • There is nothing wrong with using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

Recognize the Signs of Precsription Drug Abuse

The best way to prevent prescription drug abuse is to first educate yourself. That way, you can accurately and adequately present the facts when you talk with your teen.

Be sure you can recognize the signs of prescription drug abuse: 

  • Fatigue, red or glazed eyes, and repeated health complaints
  • Sudden mood changes, including irritability, negative attitude, personality changes, and general lack of interest in hobbies/activities
  • Secretiveness and withdrawing from family Decreased or obsessive interest in school work
  • Missing prescription medicines from your medicine cabinet
  • Additional filled prescriptions on your pharmacy record that you did not order

If you recognize any of these signs, talk with your teen and get help. You can speak with your child's physician, or find out where to get help from the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County

Information adapted from SAMHSA's Medicine Abuse Project