There has been a significant increase in the amount of prescription drugs that have been prescribed by doctors since the 90′s. When it comes to young adults and adolescents the prescription numbers have pretty much doubled. Doctors are more open to give young adult/adolescents a prescription of opioids and stimulants such as oxycodone or ritalin at a much higher rate than before. This trend can possibly be related to the increase in the misuse of these drugs. Young adults (YA) and adolescents(AD) are beginning to use other illicit drugs that are similar in effect.
Researchers cannot find a direct correlation between the increase of prescriptions to the increase of the misuse of the drug as yet. However, these drugs are being prescribed frequently and it’s not appearing to be difficult for young adults and adolescents to obtain. If an YA or AD has a doctor visit there aren’t many physical characteristics that a doctor can notice that will help them further decide if the drug should be issued or not. So, if by chance the patient was being dishonest then it could be possible to receive a prescription. They would just have to explain all of the symptoms they are experiencing.
I personally feel that there should be a more stringent process in which a doctor goes through before prescribing these drugs. If doctors are aware that these drugs could possibly be misused and can lead to the abuse of other illicit drugs then it should not be very easy to obtain this type of medication. Perhaps tests should be done, or maybe the patient should be closely monitored before being given the prescription. Even by showing the YA or AD that there is more of an investment to get to these prescriptions then they might lose interest. There is also the possibility that they can go somewhere else, but just by having one less prescription out on the street decreases the amount that is available.
Read this amazing quote from a Doctor at NYU, “We believe we’ve been underusing pain medicine and sedative-hypnotic medications because we have been so concerned about the potential for abuse,” said Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, director of education and training at the NYU Child Study Center in New York City. Can you believe that Doctors are now convinced that they are underusing pain medication and sedative-hypnotics? The term underusing, when it comes to prescriptions alone is pretty devastating. The fact that traditional doctors would rather see a young adult or adolescent hooked on a prescription med instead of an alternative pain supplement is astonishing. This explains to us the mindset of a physician. If they believe that they are underusing pain medications, this means that they are going to try to prescribe these medications as much as possible because they are not doing it enough!
Parents should be shocked to hear this type of information. I would be very concerned because there are other ways that a young adult or adolescent can be treated besides opioids. Opioids are a prime example, with sales of oxycodone surging 732 percent and those of methadone by more than 1,000 percent between 1997 and 2006. These statistics show that the increase has been exponential. This drastic increase is unbelievable and frightening at the same time.
Ok, so research cannot find a direct link to the abuse by the amount of prescriptions written. However, one fact is that the more prescriptions equal the more availability to these types of drugs. If we know that there is a possibility that these drugs can lead to the abuse of other illicit drugs, then the increase in availability can lead to the increase in the possibility that these drugs are being abused.
A wise suggestion would be that only young adults over the age of 18 should have access to these types of drugs. If the young adult or adolescent is not over the age of 18 then the drug should be administered by a parent or guardian who is over the age of 21. By setting up more rules and boundaries this disables those who are just trying to obtain the prescription merely to abuse the drug (or to sell it). It also helps because this will also decrease the amount of these drugs that are available on the street. This can also help decrease the possibility that people will become addicted if they have less access.
A lot of our youth are being done a disservice by their teachers because they are being labeled as hyperactive. When a teacher labels a child they don’t really invest too much of their time to get to the root of what the real issue could be. Since public schools tend to be over populated, children who are hyperactive or unable to adapt to the classroom environment have been labeled as “problem kids”. Most teachers are recommending for the parents to seek medical and perhaps Psychiatric assistance to see if perhaps the child suffers from ADD or ADHD. This is more damaging to a child than the teacher cares to know. They’d prefer to have a child medicated and not disrupt the class, then to invest time into the student to see if there is another method they can try. A lot of parents leave these types of decisions up to the professionals and are coaxed into believing their child has a “problem” and that medication can fix it. This is unfortunate, and very sad because the child will be dependent on a drug just to participate with their peers. They will be somewhat “normal” but we know they will not feel normal. Ritalin research has shown that Ritalin has an effect on the brain similar to that of Cocaine. There is a potential for other drug use. Ritalin also changes the brain cell structure and function.
This is a little bit more than just, “Johnny needs some medication to calm down.” Because once little Johnny has been administered these drugs, who is to say how his brain will develop? Doctors have no proof that these drugs are safe enough that children’s brains will function normally. The main point is to satisfy the temporary “problem”, but teachers and Psychiatrists need to be less selfish and think what could possibly happen to this child in the future after Ritalin. They might progress to other illicit drugs. Since there has been research stating that the brain cell structure is changing then we know that their brains will not be functioning normally.
Parents should invest more time when a teacher or Psychiatrist suggests their child has ADD or ADHD. Do some research and find some alternative methods. It could be as a result of your child’s diet, or perhaps your child is constantly surrounded by electronics. I strongly suggest that you think of the future of your child and not the temporary satisfaction of a teacher or doctor.