Nearly half of young people who inject heroin start by using prescription drugs. More than 90% of adults with substance use disorders started using before age 18 half of these cases started using drugs before age 15.
A growing number of student athletes are also at risk of becoming addicted to painkillers after being prescribed pain medication for an injury. Common drugs that are given are: Vicodin, OxyContin or Percocet.
Students also encounter these drugs outside of the doctor’s office either through a friend or by stealing medications from someone else. With the changing drug landscape, any pill NOT obtained from a pharmacy can contain the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl. Regardless, all opioids should be considered addictive and deadly.
Parents: talk to your children and teens about drugs and about taking pills. Kids who learn about the dangers of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs. As you talk with your child about the dangers of drugs, do not lose the important opportunity to discuss the danger of taking pills.
Prescription painkillers are a last resort- talk before you take! Advocate for your child in the doctor’s office by talking with your child’s medical provider about non-addictive forms of pain relief. As a young person grows, their brains are not fully formed until the age of 25. The longer you can keep a young person from using any drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to avoid issues with substance misuse use as an adult.
Students: If you need help dealing with substance use for yourself or someone you care about, your school nurse or guidance counselors can help. Recovery is possible and support is available.