‘Tis the season to admit to having a prescription drug problem it seems. Paula Abdul joins Eminem this week in admitting to her past addiction to prescription painkillers. She reports that she finally took the plunge and went through the pain and discomfort of withdrawal last Thanksgiving because she couldn’t go on the way she was living. She recognizes now that the pills could have killed her. The singer and American Idol judge cites longstanding health problems, multiple surgeries, and strong drive to keep working and performing contributed to her increased dependency on pain pills.
Celebrities opening up about their own struggles with substance abuse generally helps to shine the spotlight on the addiction struggles of everyone else.
Prescription drug abuse, especially amongst teenagers, is a growing problem. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reported in 2007 that the number of adolescent prescription drug abusers has caught up to adolescent marijuana abusers, and that prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drug among 12-13 year olds. The most frequently abused prescription drugs are the powerful painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin. The report states that adolescents are more likely than young adults to become addicted to prescription drugs, as they are often viewed as harmless by teens. Teens easily get these drugs from friends and relatives. BYOP (bring your own pills) parties are where teens bring whatever pills they have, be it their own prescriptions or their parents’, and mix the pills into a pile, called “trail mix.” Whatever you get is whatever you get. In order to keep highs exciting, teens blindly take medications so that they will be surprised by their high. If prescriptions must be kept in the home, parents should keep them in a locked location. Pills that have the potential for abuse should be counted frequently. Parents should talk to their children about the true dangers of prescription drug abuse. If you suspect that your teenager is struggling with prescription drug abuse, don’t hesitate to contact us. Help is available.