New research indicates that teens who smoke or drink are two to three times more likely to abuse prescription painkillers (HealthDay News). Researchers at Yale University suggest that approximately 3.5 million young adults abuse opioids. Sadly, the researchers expect this number to continue to grow.
Interestingly, gender also played a factor in the abuse of opioids. The study indicates that for men, the use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana increased risk for abuse of painkillers. In contrast to men, women who used marijuana only increased their use of drug abuse. Investigators have an increased understanding of risk factors for both genders given the current research.
While a relationship was found within the research between teen smoking and drinking and increase of abuse of painkillers, this relationship is not verifying a causal relationship. The study does provide a warning to adolescents to refrain from smoking and drinking until they are of the legal age to purchase these controlled substances. This can be a difficult task with the peer pressure to conform that exists to belong and be accepted. Belonging is an important task during adolescence along with identity development. Teens who experiment with substances and other risky behaviors are attempting to be accepted and explore who they are and want to become.
What Can Parents Do with the Results of This Study?
- Parents are also encouraged to model healthy and responsible behavior for their children regarding use of controlled substances.
- Parents can also help their teens navigate through this challenging period in their lives by discussing openly with their children their expectations, educating them about the risks of drug use, helping them cope with peer pressure and encouraging responsible behavior.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Carmel Valley 92130 and Cardiff by the Sea 92007 area.