The Ten Most Abused Drugs By High School Seniors
According to survey statistics compiled by the National Institute of Health, the following are the most abused drugs by high school seniors.
People often begin using drugs in adolescence and early adulthood. By the 12th grade, 70% of high school students report having used alcohol, 50% have tried an illicit drugs, 40% have smoked tobacco, and 20% have used a prescription medication for recreational purposes.
All statistics were reported in 2015, and reflect the percentage of high school seniors who had abused drugs in the previous year.
#10 OxyContin (oxycodone) – 3.7%
Oxycontin is a prescription narcotic, and opioid painkiller with a high risk for dependency and addiction. It it not often used by high school students for its pain relieving properties, however. Rather, other desired effects include a general sense of well-being and mild euphoria.
When taken in higher than the recommend dosage or with other substances, such as alcohol, it can cause life-threatening depression of the central nervous system.
#9 Hallucinogens – 4.2%
Hallucinogens are psychoactive drugs which alter audio and/or visual perceptions, and enhance sensations and awareness.
Drugs in this category include psychedelics such LSD, PCP, and psilcybin *magic* mushrooms. Overdose is not fatal but may result in extreme disturbances such as anxiety, panic, and confusion. They typically do not cause dependency, but can be habitually addictive.
#8 Vicodin – 4.4%
Vicodin is another opioid painkiller not dissimilar to OxyContin. As with most opioids, it has a risk for dependence and addiction, especially when taken in amounts higher that the recommended dosage.
And also like OxyContin, overdose may result in slowed respiration or death..
#7 Cough Medicine 4.6%
Cough medicine, whether via prescription or over-the-counter, can have mild-altering effects in high amounts. Two commonly abused drugs in this category are dextromethorphan (DXM) and promethanize-codeine formulations. These medications can also contain other potentially risky ingredients, such as acetaminophen which can cause liver failure in high amounts.
#6 Tranquilizers – 4.7%
Tranquilizers include anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax and Valium, as well as hypnotics such as Ambien.
They are not typically fatal in high amounts, but may induce extreme drowsiness. Also, they can contribute to a life-threatening overdose with mixed with opioids or alcohol.
#5 Synthetic Marijuana – 5.2%
Synthetic marijuana is a drug also knownas a cannabinoid. Is a man-made chemical compound which binds to the same receptors in the brain as marijuana. It is more potent than marijuana, however, and has in a few cases resulted in overdose deaths. Common names for the drug include “K2” and “Spice”.
#4 Opioids (Other) – 5.4%
In addition to Vicodin and OxyContin, a variety of other opioid painkillers are used by high school students. These may include Norco (hydrocodone), Percocet, Morphine, Methadone, and Fentanyl. Heroin is not included in this category.
#3 Adderall – 7.5%
Adderall is an amphetamine drug indicated for ADHD and narcolepsy. When used for recreational purposes, however, it acts as a central nervous system stimulant, resulting in increased energy and cognitive function.
Students use this drug to stay awake for long periods of time for academic reasons, or may do so for parties or concerts.
#2 Amphetamines (Other) – 7.7%
Other amphetamines in addition to Adderall are used and may include Ritalin, Concerta, and methamphetamine. In addition to desired effects, unwanted side effects may include agitation, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.
#1 Marijuana/Hashish – 34.9%
It should come as no surprise that cannabis products are among the most often abused drugs by high schoolers. Marijuana is a sedative with mild hallucinogen properties. While overdose death is not possible, usage may result in decreased motivation and academic performance.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A, Psychology
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