Prescription Drug Abuse Affecting Young and Old Alike

Prescription pain medications and stimulants are quickly becoming the drug of choice for more people in the United States

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America recently announced that more than six million teenagers have abused prescription opiates like Oxycontin or Vicodin and over two million have used prescription stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall.  The percentages are higher for these substances than for illicit drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine.

A report form the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) claims that substance abuse treatment admissions among adults 55 and older rose 32 percent from 1995 to 2002, and the second most abused drug was prescription opiates.

Lawmakers in many states have been forced to try and find solutions to the abuse of prescription drugs, including the development and implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs.  Opiates have become enough of a problem in Massachusetts that the State House of Representatives is reviewing a proposal to ban Oxycontin, according to a story from the Boston Herald.

To counter the upward trend in the abuse of opiates, SAMHSA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sponsoring new advertisements to encourage older adults to "Do the Right Dose" when using prescription pain relievers. The campaign will strive to educate older adults that prescription pain medications could lead to addiction or other problems.

"While there are some prescription drugs that have their place in treating certain illnesses, the massive advertising campaigns being run on radio, TV and in magazines that are selling prescription drugs to the public at large are contributing to the prescription drug problem in America and contributing to the rise in illegal use of prescription drugs by young people.  These wholesale ads that promote various prescription drugs as the catch-all-cure-all for any unwanted mental or physical condition is creating a social acceptability level that is leading more of our youth towards the illegal use of these drugs in epidemic proportions," commented Gary W. Smith, who is the Executive Director of Narconon Arrowhead.

Narconon Arrowhead is one of the nation's largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education centers.  It uses the proven effective drug-free rehabilitation methodology of American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.  The center is the largest of an international network of NarcononĀ® organizations in 40 countries and services individuals from across the United States. 

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America study indicated that nearly half of the teens surveyed believed that using prescription medications to get high was much safer than using illegal drugs and many even thought that painkillers were not addictive, which is why Narconon Arrowhead also has an extensive drug education and prevention campaign that reaches out to young people to combat the misinformation they hear about drugs on a daily basis.

To find out more information or to get help for a loved one in need, contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or visit