Teens are twelve times more likely to obtain and take anti-anxiety or sleep medications illegally to get high if they were prescribed those same psychiatric drugs earlier in their lives, according to research published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
“Based on surveys of more than 2,700 high school and middle school students from the Detroit area, almost 9 percent had been prescribed a potentially addictive benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication (e.g., Xanax, Valium or Klonopin) or sleep medication (e.g., Ambien, Lunesta or Restoril) at some time in their lives,” stated a press release about the study. “More than 3 percent of students had a current prescription during the study, which took place from 2009 to 2012, and those students were 10 times more likely than students who never had a prescription to obtain anti-anxiety or sleep medications illegally for reasons including so they could experiment or get high.”
“This is a wake-up call to the medical community as far as the risks involved in prescribing these medications to young people,” lead researcher Carol J. Boyd from the University of Michigan School of Nursing said in the press release.
(Abstract) A Prospective Study of Adolescents’ Nonmedical Use of Anxiolytic and Sleep Medication. (Boyd, Carol J. et al. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Published online November 24, 2014. doi: 10.1037/adb0000026)
Teens Prescribed Anti-Anxiety or Sleep Medications More Likely to Abuse Those Drugs Illegally, Research Finds (American Psychological Association Press Release, November 24, 2014)