Dental prescriptions and the dangers of teen drug abuse

Dr. Gary Vance

| 2 min read

There are some dental procedures that, in order to control post operative pain, require narcotic analgesic medication. The most common drugs in this category are: Vicodin and Oxycontin. When used as directed, these medications are effective in minimizing the pain as a result of the dental treatment. However, when used for other purposes, are illegal and can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Unfortunately, these types of medications have become the leading source of drug abuse among teenagers and young adults. These drugs may be obtained from family members or friends to treat apparent symptoms of pain but more often than not, are stolen from the family medicine cabinet. The street value of Vicodin can range from $5 – $25, and Hydrocodone from $5 – $20. Some studies indicate that about 6.7 percent of children age 12 – 17 are using these illegal drugs.
We as adults play an important role in keeping these medications from becoming the source of abuse among our children. It is essential that we discuss the dangers of using prescription drugs for non medical purposes. We need to stress that these drugs are as dangerous as illegal street drugs. As parents, we must take precautions to secure these medications and not leave them in places our children have access to. If we are going to keep these drugs around for medical purposes, we must monitor the number of pills left in the bottles and make sure they are kept in secure places, out of reach from our children. If we have unused or unwanted medications, we should dispose of them properly, so as to not make them available to anyone, including our kids.
Lastly, and most importantly, we should discuss with our family, friends and neighbors about how teens are now using prescription drugs to get high and what we can do to prevent them from becoming victims of drug abuse.
Photo credit: ashley rose,

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