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Teen Misuse of Prescription Meds

Adolescents are turning to prescription medications for their “highs” more than any other drug except alcohol and marijuana. Abused medications include Vicodin, Xanax and even common over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.

Experts associate the new form of substance abuse with advancements over the past decade in pharmacological treatment of chronic pain, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and anxiety. The same medications that are responsible for these advances can be harmful or fatal when misused.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the challenge for health care providers is to provide compassionate and effective care for those who need medications, while preventing the spread of prescription medications to those who do not.

Physicians and parents need training to recognize the non-specific signs suggestive of drug misuse, which include fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies, and poor school performance. The Academy recommends that adolescents be screened at all annual health maintenance visits for the misuse of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, including prescription and OTCs. Teenagers should never exceed the prescribed dose of OTCs.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Teen Misuse of Prescription Meds

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Teen Misuse of Prescription Meds. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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