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New Study Reveals Link Between Prescription Medicines and Teen Drug Abuse; Novus Medical Detox Center Advocates for Drug Abuse Prevention and Intervention

In light of a recent study demonstrating the connection between adolescents' use of anti-anxiety and sleep medications and subsequent prescription drug abuse, Novus Medical Detox Center calls for parental intervention to prevent substance abuse among teen

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., Dec. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- A new study conducted by the University of Michigan found that teens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medication are up to 12 times more likely to abuse prescription drugs than those who had never been prescribed such medication (1). In response to this research, Novus Medical Detox Center urges parents to seek non-medical solutions for their children's anxiety or insomnia, and encourages parental intervention for teens already using prescription medications. For those who may have developed drug dependency, Novus offers medically supervised addiction and detox programs in a residential setting to help teens manage the withdrawal process and overcome their substance abuse.

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The University of Michigan study examined prescription drug abuse among secondary school students, comparing findings for teens prescribed anxiolytic or sleep medications versus those who had never been prescribed such medications. The results showed that adolescents prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications during the study period were 10 times more likely to engage in recreational use of others' prescriptions, while those who had been prescribed the drugs prior to the study were 12 times more likely to do so (2).

The extent of substance abuse among teens is tracked by the government-sponsored Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. According to the latest MTF findings, 15% of high school seniors used a prescription drug non-medically in the past year, which is 3 to 6 times higher than the percentage using hallucinogens, ecstasy, salvia, inhalants or cocaine, and only trails marijuana and alcohol use among teens (3).

"While parents often worry about their children succumbing to illicit drug abuse, the reality is that prescription medications may be the greater problem," asserted Kent Runyon, Executive Director of Novus Medical Detox Center. "Many parents don't question the use of prescription drugs to treat their teens' anxiety or insomnia, believing that if a doctor prescribes medication, it must be safe to use. However, I think if they realized that adolescents who take prescription medications are 10 to 12 times more likely engage in substance abuse, they would be more inclined to avoid prescriptions in the first place."

Novus is committed to educating the public on the dangers of prescription medication, which accounts for a significant proportion of admissions at the Florida drug detox facility. In the case of adolescents, Runyon recommends that parents and healthcare practitioners first consider natural remedies before resorting to prescription sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medication. He suggests trying some of the alternative options recommended by national publications like Health magazine, which cites yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, chamomile tea, green tea, lavender aromatherapy and herbal supplements such as valerian, passionflower and lemon balm as effective natural remedies (4).

Runyon encourages parents to maintain an ongoing dialog with their children, noting that it can help alleviate teens' anxiety if they feel they can talk openly to their parents about academic and social pressures without being judged or chastised. He also recommends candidly discussing the potential consequences of prescription medications—including side effects and possible dependency—to emphasize that prescription drugs should not be considered a harmless, quick fix for anxiety or insomnia. For adolescents who have been prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications, Runyon cautions parents to be alert for signs of substance abuse, and advises them to closely monitor the prescriptions of adult family members to determine if teens may be pilfering pills, ordering refills or otherwise accessing another's prescription.

"By focusing on preemptive measures and intervention, parents and healthcare providers can help prevent prescription drug abuse among teens," said Runyon. "If adolescents have already developed a dependency, Novus enables them to safely and comfortably manage the withdrawal process. We can also provide a referral to a local drug rehab facility; though in many cases, prescription drug detox may be all that is needed to overcome physical dependency."

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center and its medically supervised addiction and detox programs, visit www.novusdetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. Novus' expansion is tied to their contribution to their industry and their local community, ranking number 48 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2014 Fast 50 Awards list of fastest growing companies in Tampa Bay, and number 2,936 on the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America. For more information, visit www.novusdetox.com.

  1. University of Michigan. "Teens Prescribed Anxiety, Sleep Medications Likelier to Illegally Abuse Them Later"; press release posted in Michigan News; November 24, 2014; accessed December 15, 2014. ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22534-teens-prescribed-anxiety-sleep-medications-likelier-to-illegally-abuse-them-later
  2. Boyd, Carol J.; Austic, Elizabeth; et al. "A Prospective Study of Adolescents' Nonmedical Use of Anxiolytic and Sleep Medication"; Psychology of Addictive Behaviors; November 24, 2014. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25419966
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. "DrugFacts: High School and Youth Trends"; DrugFacts; revised January 2014; accessed December 15, 2014. drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends
  4. Barnett, Robert A. "19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety"; Health; November 9, 2013; accessed December 15, 2014. health.com/health/gallery/0,,20669377,00.html

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