30 Sep More Teens Die from Drug Overdoses than Vehicle Accidents
When parents hand their children the car keys they often accompany it with the words, “Be careful.” Motor vehicle accidents have been taking the lives of over 30,000 people each year for the last several years. But a new study reveals that another danger is threatening the lives of youths much more than the road.
A national study revealed that more teens are dying from drug overdoses than people are dying from motor vehicle accidents. With drugs being more accessible these days than in years past, teens are finding drugs in school hallways, their friends’ homes and even in their own families’ medicine cabinets. The medical world is taking steps to better monitor the distribution of drugs, schools are still offering prevention programs and parents are starting to watch their medicine cabinets more closely while still talking to their children about the dangers of getting high.
The numbers of American youth who are abusing drugs is amazing. In one day, 71,000 American teens are in outpatient treatment for substance abuse. Ten-thousand more teens are in other forms of treatment for substance abuse.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provided a recent report on substances that teens have been recently using and abusing. On an average day:
- 881,684 teens smoke cigarettes
- 646,707 teens smoke marijuana
- 457,672 teens drink alcohol.
While some drugs might not be as deadly as others, all pose potential harm. Whether smoking tobacco kills someone from cancer over years or an overdose of heroin kills someone in one night, all drugs have the potential to be abused.
Some children are on prescribed medications that they need to help manage a physical or mental illness and have a normal daily life. But when those medications are abused, either by the kid with the prescription or by a friend, overdoses occur.
Some teens claim to need extra prescription pills so they can pass them out to friends, while others are the ones taking pills not prescribed for them. Without a doctor’s approval, these drugs can violently interact with their bodies. “Pill parties,” where teens reach into bowls of unknown pills and pop a few into their mouth like candy, have become more common.
Substance abuse prevention programs need to keep active in educating teens about the dangers of all types of drugs. Misconceptions that some drugs are safer than others can lead to dangerous consequences.
For those teens that are already caught in a world of substance abuse, counselors, support groups and treatment centers can help them find a way out of their addiction and back on the road to safety.
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