Prescription drugs replacing marijuana as ‘gateway drug’
For decades the leading cause of accidental death for teens has been motor vehicle crashes, with firearms being the second leading cause. In 2004, accidental poisoning deaths took the second spot and according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, accidental poisoning could soon be the leading cause.
Death rates for teens due to motor vehicle crashes decreased by about 31 percent between 2000 and 2009 while poisoning deaths increased more than 90 percent during the same time period and prescription pain killer abuse is the primary reason for the increase.
While many teens stay away from most illegal street drugs, marijuana is still the most abused illegal drug. One official from the CDC believes prescription pain killers are quickly replacing marijuana as the “gateway drug” to abusing harder drugs. An estimated 2,500 teens try prescription pain killers for the first time every day.
Increased use of seat belts and laws requiring teens to gain more experience behind the wheel have contributed to the decrease in teen deaths due to motor vehicle crashes. Parents can also help decrease teen deaths due to prescription drug abuse. Surveys have indicated most teens obtain the prescription drugs they abuse from the family medicine cabinet. Proper storage and disposal of unused prescription medications can help decrease the chances of teens getting their hands on them. Keep all medications in a locked cabinet and dispose of unused medications at a law enforcement sponsored drug drop off site and help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to you by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.