When Medication Leads to Substance Use Disorder

All types of drug use can be a threat to your child’s physical and mental health, and unfortunately, prescription drug misuse is rising in teen circles. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in 2021 about 4.4% of 12th graders reported misusing prescription drugs within the past year. Additionally, about 3% of 8th graders reported misusing amphetamines in the past year. This does not include those who were unable or unwilling to speak of their usage.

Substance use disorder surrounding prescription drugs is prevalent in this day and age. If a teenager is unable to get a prescription for themselves, they may borrow medication from a friend, or take it from a parent or guardian with a prescription. Some individuals may have become dependent on a once necessary medication, and continued using it past the point it was needed.

Teenagers share and sell prescription drugs just as frequently as non-legal substances. Unfortunately, when these regulated drugs are misused, they can put our children’s lives at risk.

Signs of Addiction

Some signs to watch for if you are concerned your child may be suffering from substance use disorder surrounding prescription drugs, include the following.

  • Physical and Emotional Changes
  • New/Different Friend Groups
  • Commonly Abused Drugs are Within Reach
  • Falling Grades
  • Dropping Afterschool Activities

All drugs issued under a prescription can be dangerous if used improperly. According to the NIH, the most commonly misused prescription drugs include stimulants, depressants, and opioids. As we already know, drug use can affect our judgment and inhibitions, but these drugs can also affect an adolescent’s developing brain on a physical level, inhibiting actively growing neural pathways, changing perception, and possibly leading to permanent changes in the brain that could support addictive behavior in the future.

Additionally, many teenagers, despite being underage, consume alcohol socially. Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be dangerous because it can lead to numerous side effects and impact the body significantly. The risks associated with such combinations depend on the drug and how much alcohol is consumed, along with custom variables, such as other medications the individual may be taking, age, weight, body chemistry, etc.

Our Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

If you are concerned your teenager may be struggling with substance use disorder, consider reaching out to Options Family & Behavioral Services for support. When you need reliable assistance and compassionate treatment for substance use disorder in your family, we have the resources to help your loved ones get the help they need.


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151 West Burnsville Parkway
Burnsville, MN 55337


2675 Long Lake Road, Suite 125
Roseville, MN 55113