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Why has the abuse of prescription and OTC drugs by teenagers increased?

Dr. John C. Eustace, MD
Addiction Medicine

The teenage brain--the immature brain--seeks new thrills and excitement, and many thrill seekers in the past experimented with marijuana and speed.

In this era--the mid-2000s--teenagers are exposed to television commercials and magazine ads for painkillers, anti-depressants and Adderall. Kids hear parents and grandparents talking about pain meds. The kids also know that typical drug tests do not target the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which often fly under the detection radar. Those factors have led to an increase in the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs by teenagers.

This is the latest chapter in our lives and the lives of people who care about children. You have to be aware of what’s going on and talk to the kids.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.