Drug Addiction in the Millennial Generation
May 1, 2016 - Drug Addiction - 0 Comments
The young and the restless
Millennial, or Generation Y, refers to the generation of individuals born in the latter 1970s through the early 2000s. They also go by other names such as the Net Generation, Trophy Generation, Echo Boomers, or even “GenMe”.
Whatever the moniker there’s no denying there have been hearty examinations about the millennial and much is yet to be understood. Millennials are the first generation of people to grow up with the Internet and with cell phones, making the digital era their era.
With those illustrious labels in tow comes the inviting drug temptation of generations before them. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, aside from marijuana, prescription medications have become the most common drug choice and addiction for young adults.
It’s nothing to find a young adult in a busy coffee shop with iPod in hand, music blaring, seated in front of a laptop…under the influence of a prescription pain killer.
Why is this commonplace? Other generations before them have faced equal pressures in their youth. Why the increased emphasis on prescribed drug remedies that lead to addiction?
There are multiple reasons why millennials, particularly college students, are choosing to use prescription medications. Stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are used to pull all-nighters, maintain focus in class, enhance athletic performance and suppress appetites.
On the other side of the spectrum, depressants such as Xanax and Vicodin are used to reduce stress, ease nervousness in social scenes, and to simply feel good and forget about daily problems.
Another reason why young adults are turning to prescription drugs is because of the notion that they are safer than illicit street drugs.
Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate prescriptions, many people feel it is acceptable to use these drugs, and would rather associate a negative stigma towards the indulgence of hard drugs. No need for drug addiction treatment on these scripts!
And it’s cool too!
The consumption of drugs and alcohol by teenagers is not just about rebellion or emotional troubles. It’s about being one of the cool and popular kids, accepted by your friends and others in your peer group.
There’s a connection between popularity and drug use. These teenagers are well-accepted, very sensitive to social codes, and understand the compromises that it takes to be popular.
An increase in consumption occurs as the child gets older regardless of their popularity level. However, the more well liked a child and their friends were, the greater the use of prescription painkillers.
At what cost then, all this recognition for the millennial generation? Ready?
Prescription painkiller abuse is more common among millennials than any generation before!
Research has also shown that students who take prescription drugs for non-medical reasons are at least five times more likely to develop a problem with drug addiction and drug addiction treatment than those who don’t.
There’s a price to be paid
Substance abuse, both of alcohol and/or illicit drugs, has always maintained a consistent presence in American culture. As new drugs have been developed over the decades, their popular use has gone hand in hand with sweeping societal changes.
From the hallucinogens and barbiturates of the ’60’s and ’70’s to the cocaine and meth crazes of the ’80’s and ’90’s, it often seems that illegal substances are as much of a trend as anything else with little regard to drug addiction treatment.
So which drugs have risen to prominence as the most popular among millennials? For this generation, the trend is especially clear. At their peaks, fewer than 8% of Boomers and Gen Xers abused painkillers in the past year but over 12% of Millennials ages 19 –20 report recent painkiller abuse.
As prescription opioid abuse and overdose continue to plague the U.S., this generation could be at greater risk of addiction than ever.
But wait, there’s more…good news!
Young people who regularly attend religious services and describe themselves as spiritual are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, according to a new study.
The study of 195 juvenile offenders was done by researchers at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Study findings suggest that young people who connect to a “higher power” may feel a greater sense of purpose, and are less likely to be bothered by feelings of not fitting in or finding themselves needing drug addiction treatment.
Among possible reasons that adolescents may opt not to experiment with drugs are religious instruction, support from congregations, or a conviction that using alcohol and drugs violates their religious beliefs.
However, it was noted that fewer adolescents today are connected to a religious organization than were youths of previous generations.
The addiction landscape is changing for young adults. If you’re a user of prescription drugs without true medical need, think twice.
It’s important for sufferers and their loved ones to look for flexible drug addiction treatment options so find what’s effective and works for your particular substance abuse experience and get help right away.