Someone once said that being a parent is sort of like taking a piece of one’s heart, putting it into another person’s body, and then not being able to guarantee the safety and well being of that person one-hundred percent of the time. This is an accurate depiction of how a lot of parents feel. Parents often feel as though they cannot protect their children all of the time, and so they worry about their children.
As the drug abuse epidemic of the 21st century continues to grow and expand, parents have even more to worry about than they once did. For some years, young adult substance abuse was a reducing problem, but this is no longer the case. Now, young people are abusing drugs and alcohol with increasing frequency. This is a problem that is only getting worse.
One of the most common substance abuse problems amongst young people has been with “study-aids” a.k.a. pharmaceutical stimulants. And what is even more concerning here is that young people are popping these pills for a self-medicative or recreational purpose, and their parents are not even aware that this is occurring.
In a new poll, only one percent of parents admitted that they knew that their teen or young adult son or daughter had been self-medicating on pharmaceutical stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin. However, other research indicates that the percentage of teens who are in fact using Adderall and Ritalin and other prescription stimulants is much higher than that. One study from the Monitoring the Future Survey indicated that twelve percent of high school seniors were using the drugs.
Such medications are very common on the college scene too. Young people take the drugs just to get high, or they may take them with the erroneous conception that such drugs are very helpful in increasing focus, intelligence, memory retention, etc. Unfortunately, this is not the result that these drugs usually have. In fact, most young people end up getting hooked on them. And as for the promised effects of the drugs, any attentiveness or alertness is usually just a manifestation of hyperactivity and increased alertness. The drugs do nothing for increasing a person’s intelligence or memory.
Ninety-five percent of parents believe that their teen or young adult children have never touched prescription stimulants unless they had been prescribed them. Four percent say they don’t know for sure one way or the other. One percent admit that their son or daughter uses the drugs. This is what parents perceive to be true, yet a plethora of research statistics indicate that at least ten percent of teens and young adults experiment with stimulant pharmaceuticals.
Study experts believe that a prescription stimulant habit is easier to hide than a cocaine, heroin, or alcohol habit is. For that reason, experts believe that young people are better equipped to conceal their penchant for pill-popping from their parents than they would be if they had a different drug habit. They theorize that this is why young people can develop recreational habits with prescription stimulants, all without their parents being any the wiser.
All of these factors pose a significant problem, because prescription stimulants are quite dangerous, not only in the fact that they are habit-forming but also in the fact that they have a strong overdose potential too. Young people need to stay away from these substances unless they have a legitimate prescription for them. And even then, the relative value of these drugs is questionable.
Better prevention and education policies are needed to reduce the risk of young people abusing stimulant drugs. We could reduce this problem considerably with just a few strategies. Some of those strategies could be:
These are just a handful of ways that we could start pursuing more intensively to prevent young people from misusing prescription stimulants. The possibilities are endless for all of the different ways that we could crack down on this problem. As we move forward into the rest of the 21st century, we need to ensure that these avenues are explored. We need to ensure that the younger generation does not become a generation that is addicted to prescription stimulants.