Drug Abuse and Lax Parental Attitudes

teen drug abuse One in four teenagers admits to abusing prescription drugs at some point, a 33 percent increase in the last five years. Painkiller abuse remains stable while stimulant abuse of ADD medications has risen 13 percent with one in eight teens confessing to abusing them without a prescription or abusing their own. About half of users get the drugs from their home’s medicine cabinet while the other half obtained them from friends.

These startling results hail from the PATS Study under the conduction of The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Met Life Foundation and evaluates prescription drug abuse stats among teens from 2008-2012.

Beyond correlating teen drug abuse data, the PATS Study’s results indicate that many parents are taking a lax attitude about their teens and drug abuse, and the odds are in your favor that you know some parents like this and are unaware.

More Alarming Trends Among Teens from the PATS Study

Now is no time for parental laxness, as the data according to PATS confirms that prescription drug abuse has become the norm within the adolescent population.

  • 20 percent admit to using by age 14
  • 27 percent think Rx medications are safer than street drugs
  • 23 percent believe their parents are more accepting with their use of prescription pharmaceuticals than other illicit substances

Not only is abusing prescription medication far from safe in any capacity, but the use by adolescents puts their mental and physical health at long-term risk. Youthful users are at higher risk for struggling with addiction issues in the future, making the need for parental action and intervention even more essential.

Significant Rises in Teen Stimulant Abuse and Parental Leniency

Increases in the diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder have also driven up the availability of stimulants, which likely fosters its abuse by teens. One in four teens think stimulates are an acceptable study aid, and one-third of parents apparently agree. Sadly, some parents in the study admit to both providing and encouraging the use of stimulants – particularly Adderall and Ritalin – as an academic and athletic enhancer.

Certainly, the PATS Study data does not imply that parents are to blame for the increasing abuse of prescription drugs by teens. However, it does implicate that parental complacency and prescription drug availability plays a role in the issue, and they offer simple solutions.

Eliminate temptation, throw away old medications, keep the ones you need locked up and take the time to educate your children about the dangers of all drugs, including those prescribed by doctors. Talk to other parents about these stats and help keep these scary numbers down for the next PATS study.


For Additional Information:

1. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (2012, May 02). Retrieved from http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/pats-full-report-final-may-2-pdf-.pdf