Young people often tend to live recklessly, acting before they think, and living in the moment. This behavior only worsens when teens are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, teens today have access to many different types of drugs, and what often starts as experimentation with some prescription stimulants can quickly turn into illicit drug use.
Stimulants Prescribed for Childhood Attention Disorders
An estimated 5 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many of these young people are prescribed stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall by their physician in order to increase their attention and focus. However, these medications have made their way illegally into the hands of many more young people who are looking for a quick boost. Teens and pre teens are using these substances without medical necessity and without a prescription, in the hopes of increasing their energy and enhancing their performance in school or sports.
It is easy for teens to abuse prescription stimulants, especially when they know their classmates are doing it too. This can lead to some very dangerous activity. A new trend among teens is to have pill parties, where each person brings a prescription drug and they take turns popping the various pills.
When stimulants like these are abused, they cause dopamine levels in the brain to rise, and the person experiences a high. Just like with any other drug, this feeling of euphoria is addicting, and before long, teens find themselves wanting more. Sometimes teens will crush and snort or even inject the pills in order to feel more of a high. This is how young people can so easily become addicted to prescription drugs.
Gateway to Illicit Drugs
Teens who abuse ADHD medications are more likely to abuse illicit drugs when they get older. When the effects of Adderall or Ritalin are no longer enough, many turn to cocaine or heroin to get high. The attitude of disrespect that many teens today are developing toward prescription medications is making them more willing to experiment with street drugs as they get older. It is important that we educate our young people today about the dangers of abusing not only illicit drugs, but prescription drugs as well.