Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Drug Abuse in Today’s Youth

Name: Emma Jay

Drug Abuse in Today’s Youth

involving drug overdoses have become a huge problem and recurrence in
today’s society, especially with today’s youth and young adults.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse
has increased nationwide by 1.3 percent between 2002 and 2013 (Lev,
2015, p. 1). The majority of the problem of drug and substance abuse
stems from poly-intoxications involving prescription drugs.
Poly-intoxications include, in this case, multiple drugs that are
prescribed and taken. The issue with drug abuse is that it affects
almost everyone; it could affect a friend or even a child that has
dealt with substance abuse. “According to a government-funded
survey in 1999, an anticipated 4 milion Amercians aged 12 years or
older used oral sedatives, stimulants, antipsychotic agents or
opioids in ways not intended by prescribers” (Thompson, 2001, p.
56). In order to attempt to prevent drug abuse, pharmacies must
implement a system for controlled substance dispensing. According to
Joanna Shepard, a new, updated reporting system would “notify
pharmacists when the reporting system detects a probable abuse”
(2014, p. 16). It would be an updated version of current Prescription
Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) which are proven to not be working
effectively. The current PDMP systems are state-wide instead of
nation-wide. “A national system would also be easier to update
prescriber disciplinary actions than separate state systems”
(Shepard, 2014, p. 16). The drug administration should install a
system in which all pharmacies and providers know what drugs are
being provided to the patients, making it harder to attain
prescription drugs and locates possible abusers for the greater good.

dramatic growth within drug overdoses must be recognized and
prevented. One of the main issues with drug overdoses include
prescription drugs and how young people are able to attain them.
According to a study that took place in San Diego in 2013, “almost
70% of deaths” of their patients in the study, “occur in chronic
users” of prescription drug users (Lev, 2015, p. 4). In a study
involving 254 patients whose deaths related to prescription drugs,
“patients averaged 23.5 perscriptions per patient” and “nearly
five providers and three different pharmacies” which was found in
the PDMP system for each case (Lev, 2015, p. 1-2). Although adults
are usually consumers when it comes to prescription drugs, the drugs
always find themselves in the hands of underaged children. In a study
done in Sweden, forensic pathologists examined patients with drug
poising deaths. “The suicide victims were 10 years younger compared
with accidental and undetermined causes of deaths” (Jones, 2010,
pg. 4). As previously mentioned, poly-intoxications are the root
cause of many drug-related deaths. “The combined influence of two
or more centrally acting drugs… is likely to be more dangerous than
a single drug taken alone” (Jones, 2010, pg. 10). OxyContin, a
popular, addictive pain killer, has a warning on the packaging,
formally known as the “black box.” “This black box warns users
not to use broken tablets, chew, crush, or dissolve the tablets as it
may cause rapid release of the drug and even bioavailability of a
fatal dose (Jayawant, 2005, pg. 78). Due to this “black box”
warning label, abusers are able to find ways to obtain a fast high,
eventually becoming more addicted, proving that the steps taken to
avoid drug abuse are not effective.

have already been many steps taken to try and stop or at least
address the issue involving substance abuse. The first step towards
effectively solving the issue of substance abuse must be to update
the current PDMP systems in order to receive more information about a
patient’s drug dispensary. While the majority of the steps previously
taken to address the growing epidemic of drug-related deaths are
related to changing prescriber practices and adding warnings to
possible addictive substances, “it is the development of PDMPs that
actually empower clinicians to address patient care with
consideration of prescriptions from other providers” (Lev, 2015, p.
1). The automated systems “would be able to analyze… whether or
not the person to whom the controlled substance was prescribed is
seeking to obtain an excessive amount of controlled substances”
(Shepard, 2014, p. 16). With that, pharmacies will be able to
recognize possible abusers and deny access to the drugs the patient
desires to obtain. The system would also alert prescribers patients
who wish “to refill a prescription too early, or otherwise obtain a
prescribed controlled substance under the circumstances indicating
likely abuse” (Shepard, 2014, p. 16). In order to solve the drug
overdose problem within society, there must be an updated national
reporting system put in place. The current PDMP systems are
state-wide instead of nation-wide. With a national system, states can
be in touch with each other when it comes to possible abusers and
notify each other more easily.

the other hand, some people say that drug smuggling would not be a
problem if drugs were legal (Levinson, 2003, p. 2). Along with drug
smuggling, “drug laws have resulted in a black market that has lead
to an increase in violence and property crimes” (Levinson, 2003, p.
2). There have been foreign experiments with drug legalization, and
it has been successful in those countries (Levinson, 2003, p. 2).
Instead of making drugs completely illegal, some say that another
option would be to just shift the focus to prevention and treatment
for those who need it because that is the current problem that needs
solved. Although, it does seem easier to provide treatment for
abusers, that can be problematic because then drug abusers can just
see that as an escape route when needed and then just crawl right
back to addiction. However, “a national controlled substance
dispensing reporting system that builds on existing Pharmacy Benefit
Manager (PBM) networks would be significantly more effective that all
other options (Shepard, 2014, p. 18). With the option of a national
reporting system, there would not be loopholes for cash transactions
and interstate purchases of prescription drugs and would be a great
way to attempt to curb drug abuse in today’s society.

abuse has become a worldwide problem “with an incidence estimated
at 40 deaths per million people… especially troublesome in the
United States” (Lev, 2015, p. 1). “There is a prescription
painkiller epidemic [worldwide], but current efforts to address the
crisis are inadequate” (Shepard. 2014, pg. 17). In order to stop
the growth of substance abuse, the drug administration must update
the old PDMP systems so that they are able to notice possible abuse
within the national prescription drug dispensary.


S. S., & Balkrishnan, R. (2005). The controversy surrounding
OxyContin abuse: Issues and solutions.

Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 1
77-82. Retrieved from

A. W., Kugelberg, F. C., Holmgren, A., & Ahlner, J. (2011). Drug
poisoning deaths in sweden show a predominance of ethanol in
mono-intoxications, adverse drug-alcohol interactions and poly-drug

Forensic Science International (Online), 206
43-51. doi:

R., Petro, S., Lee, A., Lee, O., Lucas, J., Castillo, E. M., . . .
Vilke, G. M. (2015). Methadone related deaths compared to all
prescription related deaths.

Forensic Science International (Online), 257
347-352. doi:

M. H. (2003). An extensional approach to drug legalization: A review
of general semantics.

Et Cetera, 60
125-137. Retrieved from

J. (2014). Combating the prescription painkiller epidemic: A national
prescription drug reporting program.

American Journal of Law and Medicine, 40
85-112. Retrieved from

CA. 2001. Prescription drug misuse highlighted as national problem.
J Health Syst Pharm,