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A couple of years ago Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana, ever since then all of our drug concerns have been focused on marijuana. However, there is another drug in the background that has been overlooked: prescription drugs. These easily-accessible drugs become popular as teens self-medicate themselves or use them to get high. The most popular prescription drugs that are abused are pain relievers (to get high), depressants (to relieve anxiety), and stimulants (to help with ADD). While prescription drugs are not bad themselves, the improper use of them proves a danger to those who use them irresponsibly.
Prescription drugs have always been an underlying issue not many pay attention to because they believe it is “safe”. People believe if a doctor gave it to them it should be safe, but many prescriptions drugs, mainly painkillers, have addictive substances in them, causing the person to rely on them, which leads to long term effects. And although marijuana is more popular, prescription drug abuse has resulted in more deaths, up to 17,000 a year according to Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence. Another reason it’s not widely known as a threat is because it’s harder to detect than other drugs. “You may actually be prescribed and it has your name on it…it’s harder to prove those aren’t your pills” says School Resource Office and Deputy Sheriff Englert while explaining how difficult it is to find teenagers that are abusing prescription drugs.
Although you may think prescription drugs are safe because they were given to you by a doctor, they’re only safe exactly how the doctor prescribed to you. “Teenager’s brain chemicals are changing all the time, if you put something else in there, like a prescription drug you don’t know what that does to you long term” says Englert. This is backed up by the Addiction Center who states that drug abuse will deter brain development and even hinder cognitive abilities later in life. As you abuse prescription drugs more and more, it will affect your social life as well. Because you become addicted to a drug, your time will be focused towards it, instead of healthy relationships and focusing on school. Overall, abusing prescription drugs will have a negative effect on your, mental, physical, and social life.
As long a prescription drugs are prescribed to you by a doctor, and you follow the amount you need to take, there is a lower chance of being addicted, and of you getting in trouble. Teachers, advisers, and officers always keep their eye out for prescription drug abuse and unfortunately if you’re caught with them you can be charged for prescription fraud, which will impact you for the rest of your life. Englert stresses that if you see or know of a student struggling with a prescription drug addiction to get them help; “You’re not being a snitch or getting somebody in trouble, it’s what’s best for those people”