Teenage Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse
Teenage prescription is a growing concern in the United States since it is considered one of the leading causes of prescription drug abuse. Consequently, it is vital to focus on combating teenage prescription drug misuse and abuse. Despite the reduction in the consumption of illicit drugs in the United States, the abuse of prescription drugs, especially among teenagers, has been a major concern. A research study conducted on the nonmedical use of prescription medication among teenagers in the US concluded that parental socioeconomic status might have a stronger influence on the abuse of tranquilizers and stimulants. The data reveals that parents are not doing enough to control what their children have access to and use in the streets.
Prescription medication, especially prescription pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and sedatives, has become easily available and accessible by teenagers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 5,700 youth reported using prescription pain relievers for the first time without a doctor’s prescription (Volk, 2020). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that in 2015, about 18% of people who misused prescription drugs were children as young as 12 (Stewart and Reed, 2015). The figure is constantly rising as they grow older. This implies that more teenagers are abusing prescription drugs at different ages.
The three key elements in the article “Finding and using data” useful in influencing policymakers include supporting information from an unlikely source, being careful in using small numbers or data from very small populations, and paying attention to information that does not support your position (ORC, 2017). To persuade policymakers, unbiased information about the insignificant numbers and accepting the contrasting views from your prism indicate that you are open to ideas that might help improve your agenda.
The Honorable James Lankford
1015 North Broadway Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Dear Senator Lankford,
I am writing to you to inform you that the rate of prescription drug misuse/abuse among teenagers is increasingly growing in the United States, with Oklahoma being one of the affected states. More teenagers are using prescription medication for reasons other than the original prescription, such as taking the drugs more often or in large doses than prescribed, crushing the pills to inject or snort, and mixing it with certain other drugs or alcohol to get “high.”
In 2017, the national institute on Drug Abuse reported that more than 18 million people abused prescription drugs such as prescription pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and sedatives from as young as the age of 12 years. This is even higher than those who abuse inhalants, cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin. In the same year, 388 opioid overdose-related deaths were registered in Oklahoma.
To make a difference, interactive processes like the Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) intervention could go a long way in reducing the abuse of prescription drugs while understanding the marketing mix and the information that reaches the stakeholders.
As a legislator, I know these statistics should be worrying, especially the increasing trends. I believe that your office can address this issue in our state’s public policy and champion the agenda to the next level. I am available in case my assistance might be valuable. Thank you for your time and your commitment to improving the health of all Oklahoma Citizens.
Stewart, D. T. & Reed, M. B. (2015). Nonmedical Use of Prescription Medications Among Young Adults in the United States. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 41(5): 458–464. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2015.1060242
Volk, K. (2020). Rise in Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Impacting Teens. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/homelessness-programs-resources/hpr-resources/teen-prescription-drug-misuse-abuse
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Module 1 – SLP
The Session Long Project entails you going through the process of influencing policymakers. Review the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Advocacy Toolbox. Read the “Writing to government officials or lobbyists” and the “Raising a Concern” sample letter. Additionally, read the “Finding and using data” article for this assignment.
The health topic for this Session Long Project will focus on Prescription Drug Misuse/Abuse.
Choose any topic that is related to the category stated above. Choose whether you will advocate for change at the local, state, or national level.
For this SLP assignment, you will be writing to “raise a concern.”
Choose three key elements from “Finding and using data” page and discuss how these elements relate to influencing policymakers (one paragraph).
Write a one-page letter that encompasses the information from the above 3 bullets (on “raise a concern”).
Note: The first page addresses bullets 1–3. The second page is a one-page letter on “raising a concern” and encompasses the information from questions 1–3 (see sample letters for guidance). Your letter must be on a topic related to the category stated above and must be directed toward the local, state, OR federal level.
Length: 2 pages (excluding the cover page and the reference list).
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