It looks like prescription drugs may be taking the back seat to marijuana among America’s youth. This news comes, appropriately, during National Recovery Month by a study done by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The study reported that the number of young adults ages 18 to 25 who abused prescription drugs dropped 14 percent in 2011. While prescription drug use seems to be on the decline, pot use is showing a slight trend upwards from 5.8 percent admitting to using the drug in 2007 to 7 percent today. In fact, marijuana was found to be the drug of choice among American kids, according to a poll taken by SAMHSA.
Decline In Prescription Drug Abuse A Relief
Though the battle of prescription drug abuse is nowhere near won, this decline in its abuse is great news. There is a common misconception that prescription drugs aren’t dangerous because they are prescribed by doctors, but this is far from true.
Heavy use of prescription drugs can easily lead to addiction, especially with painkillers. Prescription painkillers work by fastening to receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain and in turn create a feeling of euphoria. These particular types of drugs can cause physical dependence and my lead to addiction in some people. Someone who is abusing prescription painkillers may take a larger dosage in order to achieve a more euphoric effect and lessen withdrawal symptoms.
They are fairly easy to obtain and can be found in most medicine cabinets in America. In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that over 70 percent of people that were abusing prescription pain relievers had gotten them from friends or relatives as oppose to the 5 percent who got them from a drug dealer or over the Internet. In addition, studies have shown that addiction to these types of prescription drugs may lead to the use of heroine.
Pot Still Poses Dangers To Anyone Who Uses It
Though the abuse of prescription drugs has proven to be detrimental, the use of marijuana isn’t safe for those who use it; despite many myths that the drug can be used without problems or side effects. Studies have shown that long-term use of marijuana causes a drop in IQ levels as well as the loss of other cognitive abilities such as thinking, computing and memory.
Marijuana seems to be so popular among teens, maybe because of its availability. Most teens know of someone who uses this drug. Many people also have the misconception that marijuana is safer than other drugs because it comes from a plant and gives the same desired euphoric effects as harder drugs, but it isn’t what it used to be. Actually, the potency of marijuana continues to get more and more powerful.
A recent test of thousands of samples of marijuana plants done by the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project found that the levels of THC in today’s marijuana has been found to exceed 30 percent as compared to 4 percent back in 1983.
This decrease in prescription drug abuse shows that the measures taken to educate, prevent and treat the abuse of drugs has been successful and should be continued and improved in order to create a better world for future generations. Youth need to be shown about the dangers of marijuana at a young age where they can say no to use of the drug. The same should be said about prescription use.
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