There are many myths about drug abuse that can make recognizing and dealing with addiction a challenge. Prescription drug abuse, in particular, has many misconceptions, which makes it all the more important to learn about these false assumptions so that you know when to seek help for your teen.
Prescription Drugs are Safer Than Other Illicit Drugs
Many teens think that prescription drugs are safer than other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine since the former are FDA-approved and thousands of people take them as prescribed on a daily basis. However, when abused, prescription drugs can be just as harmful as other illicit drugs. For instance, many prescription drugs have debilitating side effects such as impaired breathing, memory loss and heart problems.
Teens Get Prescription Drugs from Drug Dealers on the Street
Prescription drugs have become so readily available to teens that they don’t need to know a drug dealer or spend time on the street to acquire prescription drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor. In fact, 53% of teens who used painkillers for a non-medical purpose received the drug from a friend or relative, while roughly 11% bought the drug from someone they knew.
Sharing or Misusing Prescription Drugs is Legal
It’s a common misconception that taking other people’s prescription drugs is legal, since the drugs have been prescribed by a doctor. In truth, many prescription medications are actually controlled substances, meaning it is illegal and punishable by law to take medication that has not been prescribed to you. Lying to a doctor to get a prescription that you don’t need is also illegal.
Prescription Drugs Aren’t Addictive
Some people think that prescription drugs aren’t addictive because not everyone who takes prescription drugs for a long time develops a dependence. However, some people may have a higher tolerance than others, and as such, it does not indicate that overuse of prescription drugs won’t lead to addiction. The DEA classifies many prescription drugs as controlled substances (such as OxyContin and Ritalin) due to their high potential for abuse as well as physical or psychological dependency.
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