After marijuana and alcohol, prescription Opioids are the most commonly abused substances in Americans 14 years of age and older. According to research, teens and adolescents are the most abusive of prescription pain relievers. In 2018, more than 695,000 young people 12–17 years old and 1.9 million young people 18–25 years old reported abuse of prescription painkillers over the past year.
Opioids are sometimes considered narcotics and although they have analgesic effects, they are not classified as over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin. Since Opioids are prescription drugs, they are easier to buy than other drugs, so it is the reason why many teenagers choose to buy them for a “high” feeling.
The following article will summarize what Opioids are, why teens use Opioids, and how they affect your child’s body.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a group of drugs that include the illegal drugs heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and legal prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine and many others.
Overuse of prescription Opioids includes taking someone else’s medication, taking the medicine in a different way than directed, taking the medicine in high form or mixing it with alcohol or other substances. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine are some of the most commonly abused prescription pain relievers.
What are Opioids used for? Why do teenagers use Opioids?
Young people can abuse prescription Opioids for a variety of reasons, such as curiosity, peer pressure (if a friend tries, I have to try it too), and a desire to be accepted and integrated.
Another reason teenagers and young people might decide to take prescription Opioids is that they are easier to buy than other drugs. Studies show that 53% of people 12 years of age and older who buy prescription pain relievers for over-the-counter use are purchased by a friend or relative.
There are several situations that can increase your child’s risk of using Opioids the wrong way. Research shows that people who were prescribed Opioids before graduating from high school had a 33% higher risk of opioids abuse after graduation.
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Besides, taking opioids after wisdom tooth removal also increases the rate of long-term drug use. Smokers are also more likely to abuse opioids than non-smokers.
What are the effects of Opioids on your child’s body?
Many prescription Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain as they help block pain signals from passing between the brain and the body. In addition to pain management, opioids can make some people feel comfortable, happy or “high” and can be addictive. Your child may experience many other side effects including:
- Breathe slowly
Because of its addictive nature, improper use of Opioids comes with many risks. Regular use of these prescribed medications increases your child’s tolerance and dependence, requiring your child to take higher and more frequent doses.
Long-term use can lead to addiction (or what your doctor will call an “opioids use disorder”. Additionally, Opioids can limit your child’s ability to breathe at higher doses, and when used incorrectly, can lead to a fatal overdose.
The risk of respiratory depression (slowing or even stopping breathing), increases if your child has never taken Opioids before or if you are taking other drugs “activated” with Opioids. Therefore, opioids should only be used if needed for pain relief.
Signs of Opioids addiction
Opioids are a group of drugs that include both prescription pain relievers and illegal drugs like heroin. Although opioids can be prescribed by a doctor to treat pain, overusing them can lead to dependence or addiction.
Common signs of Opioids addiction include:
- Inability to control opioid use
- Uncontrollable cravings
- Sleepiness, change in sleep habits
- Weight loss
- Experience flu-like symptoms frequently
- Decreased libido
- Change exercise habits
- Stay away from family or friends
- Financial hardship, leading to stealing from family and friends
How can parents prevent the use of Opioids in the first place?
It’s never too late to start talking to your child about the risks of overusing prescription Opioids. As adolescents, they make more decisions on their own and face more temptation and peer pressure. While they don’t seem like they need your attention, teens really want to hear your advice.
First of all, have intimate conversations with your child about drugs and explain to your child how they will affect them, in this case, Opioids. It’s important for you to help them understand what prescription opioids are, why they shouldn’t overdo them, and why you shouldn’t combine them with alcohol or drugs or another medicine, such as a benzodiazepine.
This knowledge is completely accessible at school in theoretical form, but they are often inherently not-easy-to-be-remembered, so, as a friend, show your friendliness. Build a friendly sharing environment between your children and parents, talk to them about cannabis openly like two friends, and your children are both more receptive and trusting in you.
However, nothing is 100% absolute.
To BETTER protect your child more effectively, you also need to use content filtering tools like CyberPurify – in addition to filtering out harmful content that reaches your child like porn, accidental gore pictures, etc. it will notify you when your child is looking for information about Opioids, help you detect, prevent unpredictable consequences.
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