State officials are noticing an alarming trend among teens and drug abuse. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, especially among teen girls.
The consequences can be devastating and even deadly.
One out of five teenagers admits to abusing prescription drugs, and the latest research shows the trend is hitting girls even harder than boys.
A teenager, identified only as Jennifer, talked with NewsChannel Seven about the problem. “It got to the point where I could not write a paper or study for an exam unless I took this little pill.”
Jennifer’s prescription drug abuse started in high school when she took her father’s Zoloft to help fight the blues. She moved on to other prescription drugs to help her stay up all night and study in college, sometimes for days on end.
“I remember I was trying to go to sleep, finally, I had finished with everything and I was seeing dinosaurs dancing on my walls.”
State officials now realize there are thousands of girls and young women just like Jennifer struggling with girl-specific issues that need a girl-specific solution. Girls are twice as likely as boys to struggle with depression. Some push themselves to excel. Others struggle with emerging sexuality and peer pressure.
Bill Janes is Florida’s new drug czar. He’s working to develop a gender-specific prevention message for Florida teens. “Self-esteem has long been an issue; as young girls deal with body weight, appearance and body image as they interact with boys and other girls, and if we’re not dealing with those issues specifically, we’re missing the point.”
The stakes are high. Prescription drug abuse caused nearly 2400 deaths in Florida last year.
Jennifer, the young woman in our story, entered treatment three months ago after being arrested for driving under the influence. She hopes to start her senior year of college drug-free this fall.