Prescription drugs may prove helpful in managing pain, but misconceptions about prescription medication safety as well as the over-prescribing of painkillers during the past twenty years has helped fuel the largest drug epidemic the United States has ever seen. National survey datashows a startling 450% increase in opiate drug treatment admissions between 1998 and 2008. The number of prescription drug abusers has increased to the point that prescription drug abuse ranks second to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse. As a result of more access to pain medications in homes, young people are at tremendous risk.
Trust for America’s Health published a report in November 2015 titled “Reducing Teen Substance Misuse: What Really Works” which shows that 35 states experienced an exponential increase in youth overdose deaths between 1999 and 2011. According to the report, drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury or death among adolescents in 2013. Death rates doubled in South Carolina in the past 12 years and are increasing dramatically. Youth overdose deaths during the same have quadrupled in Kansas, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in America today with over 12 overdose deaths per 100,000 youths.
Drug overdoses were the leading cause of
injury or death among adolescents in 2013.
The report demonstrates the following findings regarding substance abuse during adolescent years:
- More than 90 percent of adult addicts begin using before the age of 18.
- Physical development, social changes (starting middle or high school), less adult supervision, and home life disruptions such as a divorce, new child or moving are all strong triggers.
- The National Institute on Drug Use suggests that certain personality types may be more predisposed to drug use and may be able to be identified in early childhood years.
- Positive protective factors like strong, stable, supportive relationships can lessen the risks of substance abuse once a person enters their teen years.
According to the report, the upsurge in overdose deaths is directly correlated to the sharp increase in heroin use by
18-25 year olds during the past 10 years. As prescription pain killers are becoming harder to come by and more expensive on the streets, addicts are turning to cheaper and more readily available drugs like heroin.
The statistics are grim, and the epidemic in our country is growing rapidly – leading to an increase in drug related crimes such as theft, burglary, assaults and murder. Drug abuse can be prevented, our children can be protected and our neighborhoods and businesses can be drug free. However, none of these things is possible without the combined efforts of individuals, families, neighborhood groups, community organizations, churches, businesses and local authorities. Early intervention and vigilance is key to overcoming the greatest war our country has ever seen.
To learn more about substance abuse prevention and drug testing, please call or text Carolina Testing at 843-972-3287.