No parent ever wants to find that their teen is abusing prescription painkillers. But, as the opioid crisis reaches even higher proportions in American, the likelihood that your teen has or will abuse prescription painkillers rises. This occurrence becomes even more likely if your teen is struggling with mental, emotional, or physical issues and turns to other troubled youth to manage their problems.
However, the problem doesn’t stop there. There is a new study that has found that teens who have abused prescription painkillers are much more likely to end up using heroin.
Research Connecting Teen Prescription Painkiller Use And Progression To Heroin
During the teenage years, it is expected that teens will experiment to a certain extent, trying out clothing styles, hair trends, hobbies, and more. However, this process of self-discovery and identity can be painful and lead some teens to try and self-soothe by abusing prescription painkillers.
Part of this abuse is because around 50% of teens believe prescription drugs are safe, especially when compared to street drugs. And these teens are likely finding prescription painkillers in their home medicine cabinets. Up to 70% of teens say that their home medicine cabinet is their source of drugs.
On top of this terrifying information, new research has pointed to a disturbing link that connects teens using opioid painkillers graduating to heroin usage. In this study, the researchers found that teens who used prescription opioids in high school are more likely to begin using heroin by the time the teens have graduated high school.
So, if you catch your teen red-handed with prescription drugs, the time to address the issue is now to prevent future heroin abuse.
What To Do If Your Teen Is Abusing Prescription Drugs
A knee-jerk reaction of some parents is to send their substance-abusing-teen to a military school to deal with their teens’ troubling behavior. However, this response can be more damaging than helpful.
For one thing, teen military schools are not designed to accommodate teens who have struggled with substance abuse. There is often no follow-up support, and the conformist nature of these programs can lead troubled teens to end up rebelling even more and being expelled. Also, many of the better military schools will not accept troubled teens and cultivate a student population that is preparing to enter careers in the military.
Instead, the first step parents need to take is to help their teen detox safely. Depending on what your teen has taken, they may need medical intervention, as quitting some prescription painkillers and heroin cold turkey can be lethal.
This detox will likely need to occur in an in-patient facility so that your teen’s health and behavior can be closely monitored. But once your teen has detoxed from their substance abuse, the real work will need to begin.
Support After Detoxing
Once your son completes in-patient treatment, he will be vulnerable to relapse. To help support your son’s sobriety, Sundance Canyon Academy can help.
Our residential treatment center for troubled teens is staffed with caring therapists and staff that have helped many teenage boys through issues ranging from past substance abuse, mental illness like depression and anxiety, as well as other struggles.
As boys who have engaged in substance abuse are often self-medicating to treat internalized issues, it is important that they have a supportive and therapeutic environment to work through their problems.
Sundance Canyon Academy has been that safe place for many boys for years, and maybe just what your boy needs to recover from his encounter with substance abuse. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our program and how we can help your son.