Connecticut has reported a high abuse rate of prescription drugs among teenagers. Based on surveys and national statistics, it is believed that the problem of prescription drugs is much bigger than that of heroin and cocaine. Connecticut treatment facilities are seeing increases in teenagers being admitted for opiate addiction caused by misusing prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs are often a gateway to illegal drugs, specifically heroin. Heroin is cheaper than prescription drugs and produces similar effects. Heroin has become the top concern for the Drug Enforcement Agency in Connecticut, as the drug is readily available in many suburbs. In a seven-year period, emergency room visits due to prescription drug abuse tripled.
How Addiction Occurs
Although not every teen who uses prescription drugs becomes addicted, consistent misuse can lead to dependency very quickly, especially if there is a family history of drug abuse. Addiction happens through the brain, through what is called the pleasure pathway. Located in the middle of the brain, this reward center is filled with dopamine to make us feel happy. Prescription drugs block the receptors that receive dopamine and instead make the dopamine spill over, causing intense pleasure that cannot be experienced naturally. When drugs are continually used, they block more and more receptors, to the point where the brain stops producing dopamine. At this point, the brain forces the body to take more drugs to feel good. The brain then builds up a tolerance to the drug and the drug becomes an act of survival, much like eating and drinking.
Addiction can happen to anyone. Youth are more likely to become addicted because the human brain does not finish developing until age 25. Most addictions happen after a person has used a drug during partying or after suffering a medical condition or surgery that required the use of painkillers.
Signs of Addiction
As a parent, looking for the signs of drug and alcohol addiction is important so you can identify symptoms as early on as possible. Early intervention is key, as treatment is much harder once abuse becomes addiction.
Here are some common signs of addiction to look for in your teen:
Changes in groups of friends
Decreased grades or school attendance
Stealing prescription drugs or valuables to get money for drugs
Lack of interest in once-favorite hobbies
Sudden changes in mood
Lack of care for appearance
Increased need for privacy
Excessive use of air freshener or incense to cover smells of drugs
If you notice any of these signs in your teen, have a talk with them as soon as possible about suspected drug use. Let them know your concerns and be firm but supportive in their plans for treatment – whether in Connecticut or elsewhere in the US.
Choosing Treatment Facilities for Connecticut Teens
Connecticut has more than 100 treatment facilities and recovery options for your teen. There are a variety of behavioral therapies and alternative treatment methods available to help your teen become clean and sober. Detox and medication are used in many facilities to help your teen through the withdrawal process. Living in a treatment facility may be a scary experience for your teen, but not getting help and living each day dependent on drugs or alcohol is even scarier.
There is a bright future out there for your teen and we can help your teen live it without alcohol or drug dependency. Contact us today to find resources for help – both in Connecticut and throughout the country. We have helped many teens get the help they need to live a drug-free life. If your teen is suffering from addiction, we can help them as well. Don’t give up hope. Becoming free from addiction is a life-long process, but it is possible. Call us today to get your teen started on the path to recovery.
This help line is for anyone who is looking for treatment for a loved one or themselves. Advisors are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide private and convenient solutions to your questions.
Calls to this help line will be answered by Newport Academy, a sponsor of Teen Rehab.org.