A recent study released by Chinese researchers shows that there appears to be a link between illicit prescription drug use and suicide attempts among teenagers. Adolescents who have abused prescription painkillers in the past are three times more likely to attempt suicide one year after initial use of the pills. This study highlights the importance of continued education and prevention efforts about prescription drugs, because even lesser levels of misuse increase the suicidal tendencies.
Teenagers often face incredible challenges when it comes to fitting in, communicating and working through emotional problems. For a teenager struggling with these problems, prescription painkillers can seem like the answer by providing some sort of temporary escape or relief. The pills create a euphoric effect and oftentimes allow the user to forget their problems, at least for a short period of time.
Unfortunately, when the pills wear off, those problems are still there and that can be when suicidal ideation creeps in. Researchers stress that in addition to increased prescription drug abuse education and prevention efforts, parents need to be aware of signs that their child may be suicidal. Results of the study were published in JAMA Pediatrics.
“Growing up has always been difficult and life now is even more complicated. Parents should take seriously severe or persistent distress and changes in behavior, such as isolation or falling grades, and bring their teen to their primary care physician or a mental health professional with any signs,” explained Dr. Benjamin Shain, a researcher at the University of Chicago.
As suicide and drug abuse are among the leading causes of death among teens, this information could serve to save thousands of lives. It could also alert parents who are aware that their child has experimented with prescription painkillers that suicide may be a problem that needs to be addressed. If the non-medical use of these drugs isn’t addressed, then the likelihood of the teens developing an even more serious addiction as an adult continues to increase.
If you know of someone who needs help for a prescription drug problem, contact Desert Cove today to find out more about our treatment program.